Wake County Mayors, EDC Workshop, Council Work Session, Joint CAMPO/DCHC Commuter Rail Meeting, Council Meeting, and Toni Dezomits Retirement

Meeting with Historian

Monday afternoon I met with a historian who talked about citizen interest in Cary’s history. We discussed opportunities for the town to be involved in special historical specific events. I encouraged a conversation with the Parks Director before continuing.

Council Meeting Prep

Later Monday I contacted council members to hear of any questions or concerns about Thursday’s agenda. One council member expressed a concern about the lack of affordable housing in a proposal. Another council member had questions about the amendments to the Land Development Ordinance.

Later in the day I met with the Mayor Pro-Tem and staff to review the agenda items.

Town Manager One-On-One

Monday evening I met briefly with the town manager and Mayor Pro-Tem. We discussed the Environmental Advisory Board, the upcoming work session, and a few other topics.

Wake County Mayors Association

Monday night I joined a meeting of the Wake County Mayors. Attending were mayors from Cary, Fuquay Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Morrisville, Wake Forest, and Zebulon. The meeting started with speakers who are our appointees to the Centennial Authority. They mostly talked about of the expansion of RBC arena and surrounding properties. There are plans to make it a destination center with restaurants, retail, etc., in addition to the venue. The cost may reach $250 million which will be funded by bonds. The bonds will be paid for with hotel, meal, and occupancy tax monies.

The remainder of the meeting was a roundtable discussion on a variety of topics including bills in the legislature that could be harmful to our communities. The meeting concluded after a little over two hours.

EDC Workshop

Tuesday I joined staff and members of EDC (Economic Development Committee) in a work session to explore how we could better utilize our committee members. Our current committee includes prominent business leaders with decades of experience. After several exercises and discussions, the consensus was that committee members needed to be involved more in the early part of the development cycle. They believe they could provide feedback on the economic impact of a proposal. The ideas will be fleshed out by staff and brought back to the committee at our next meeting in June.

Council Work Session

Wednesday the council held a work session to cover topics that were planned for the annual retreat last month. Topics included Greenways and E-Bikes, capital projects, and housing. Here are some points made in the work session:


  • All of our greenways are designed for bicycles.
  • 800 citizens were surveyed about e-bikes, 50% excited, 20% comfortable.
  • Surrounding communities don’t enforce e-bike use on greenways.
  • The council should expect an ordinance amendment on e-bikes in April.
  • Cameras will be installed at trailheads.
  • Staff will develop greenway safety and etiquette educational campaign and install additional speed limit signage along the greenways. 
  • The e-bikes program will expire in 18 months and will be re-evaluated.

Capital Projects

  • Downtown Cary Park is 83% completed and will be finished this year.
  • Higgins Greenway phase III will begin construction this year and will have 12-foot-wide paths.
  • Intersection improvements at Kildaire and Walnut will realign lanes on Kildaire and should be finished in the coming months.
  • The Ivey-Ellington will be refurbished and will house staff offices. We may build a tabletop deck (2 levels) on the old parking lot site. The rest of the site will remain open.
  • 2019 bonds are being implemented with several more parks and transportation projects left on the bonds.
  • There are 41 funded sidewalk projects totaling 10.4 miles, 14 supported by ARPA funds, and 6 supported by 2019 bonds.
  • Parks projects Dunham, Annie Jones, Penny Road, are completed or should be completed this year.
  • Cary Parkway Pedestrian bridge will start construction this year and will be completed in 2025/2026.
  • Crabtree Creek Trail and Weston Parkway tunnel will start construction this year and be completed late next year.
  • Carpenter Fire Station Road widening will start construction this year and be completed in 2025.
  • Carpenter Fire Station Road Park and McCrimmon Park will be completed this year.


  • $5 million budgeted for this year for affordable housing. FY 2024, which starts July 1, will be about the same.
  • $1.15 million from operations and $3.85 million from capital.
  • One penny on our tax rate is about $3.7 million which exceeds recommendations from special interest groups for affordable housing.

Joint CAMPO and DCHC MPO Commuter Rail Committee Meeting

Thursday I was part of a meeting at CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) headquarters in Fenton of Cary. It was a joint meeting between a CAMPO subcommittee and a DCHC (Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro) subcommittee to discuss commuter rail’s phase one beginning and destination.  The CAMPO subcommittee was made up of CAMPO officers, CAMPO staff, Wake Forest Mayor Jones, Raleigh Council member Branch, Mayor Weinbrecht from Cary, Mayor Marshburn from Garner, Mayor Cawley from Morrisville, Wake County Commissioner Evans, and GoTriangle Board member Hutchinson. The DCHC subcommittee was made up of Chair Weaver, Orange County Commissioner Greene, Durham Council member Cabellero, Carrboro Commissioner Seils, Durham County Commissioner Jacobs, and GoTriangle member Parker. The discussion focused on the termination of phase one of the commuter rail route which begins in Garner. Options were RTP, Ellis Road, or further. After a lengthy discussion the DCHC representatives said they needed more time and information to make a choice. Since there is no federal funding for phase one I estimate that the realization of this route is at least ten years out. The meeting concluded after a couple of hours.

Toni Dezomits Reception

Before the council meeting on Thursday the staff and council held a reception for outgoing Public Safety Director Toni Dezomits who is retiring in April. She is a beloved member that will be sorely missed. Some of the things I noted about her in a proclamation include:

  • 27 years of public service, 25 in Cary.
  • 1989-1997, serving our country bravely and honorably in the United States Army including in Operation Desert Storm.
  • Served first as a Sergeant, followed by her appointment as a District Lieutenant, a District and Professional Standards Captain, an Assistant Chief of Professional Standards, and our Police Chief before transitioning to her current role as Director of Public Safety in 2021.
  • Always deeply committed to Cary’s organizational value of ‘people first’’
  • Toni adaptively grew along with Cary as it evolved from a thriving community of 46,000 when she began her career here to a maturing community of more than 182,000 citizens today, perhaps best exemplified through her collaboration in the introduction of Geo Policing which enables officers to partner with citizens and become experts on the needs, issues, and concerns of the people within their district.
  • Toni’s high standards for both integrity and ethical policing made her excel in her job, it was her shining kindness toward everyone she encountered that made her a very special kind of colleague and friend, most especially among her peers in the department director group who cherish her with the highest regard.
  • Toni will enjoy her retirement from the vast responsibilities inherent in her business role, to enjoy her partnership with wife Hilary and three beloved dogs while continuing to serve as a volunteer and foster home for Chihuahua rescue while also embracing her love for the outdoors, mountain biking, and enhancing her self-taught guitar skills along with all the other freedoms and adventures that retirement brings.

Wishing you the best in retirement Toni! We will miss you!

Council Meeting

Thursday the council held its last regularly scheduled meeting of the month.

The meeting included recognition of Toni Dezomits, two consent items, two public hearings, and one discussion item. The public hearing on Carpenter Fire Station at Highcroft PDD drew more than a dozen speakers in opposition. The second public hearing was for an annexation on Green Level West Road associated with rezoning 22-REZ-26 and had no speakers. Our discussion item was for the Fire Station 4 Renovation Bid Award which  was unanimously approved. The council meeting concluded after about two hours.

NC Metro Mayors

The North Carolina Metro Mayors met virtually Friday morning to hear and discuss legislative actions. Here is a summary of legislative actions from KTS Strategies:

House Budget

House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) confirmed the House budget will be released to the public next Wednesday, March 29. The proposal will have its first committee hearings following its release. The House is on track to have their budget passed by the first week of April. This is one of the quickest budget timelines we have seen in recent memory. The Senate plans to have their version passed in May. The two chambers will then negotiate in a conference committee until a final compromise has been reached. The goal is to have a budget completed before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

Sports Betting

This week, the House considered H347, Sports Wagering. The bill would authorize, regulate, and tax sports betting in North Carolina. The Lottery Commission would be responsible for regulating and issuing licenses to 10 to 12 sports wagering operators. A 14 percent privilege tax would be levied on each operator. A portion of tax revenues would be distributed to DHHS for problem gambling, the NC Department of Parks and Recreation for grants to benefit youth sports, certain universities to support collegiate athletic departments, and the North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council for grants for sports team travel assistance.

The bill passed the House Commerce, Finance, and Judiciary Committees this week. It will be heard in the House Rules Committee next Tuesday before heading to the floor for consideration.

Medicaid Expansion

The legislature gave final approval to Medicaid expansion this week. H76, Access to Healthcare Options, was heard on the House floor Wednesday and Thursday for concurrence votes. The bill passed on third reading with a vote of 87-24. It will now head to Governor Cooper for approval. Expansion would not be enacted immediately upon signature. It is contingent upon passage of this year’s state budget.

Session Laws

Governor Cooper allowed two bills to become law without his signature. S53, Hotel Safety Issues, would clarify that accommodations provided by inns, hotels, motels, or similar lodgings for less than 90 consecutive days do not create a tenancy. H40, Prevent Civil Rioting and Disorder, would increase the penalties for rioting or inciting rioting that causes damage to property, serious bodily injury, or death. It would also increase the penalty for certain assaults on emergency personnel. Both issues were passed by the legislature last year, but ultimately vetoed by the Governor. They are now Session Law 2023-5 and Session Law 2023-6 respectively.

NC Courage Kicks Off Season

Saturday I attended the first NC Courage match of the year. Cary’s NC Courage kicked off their 2023 season in style with a 1-0 victory over Kansas City. This was the team that beat them in the semi-finals last year. In attendance was a board member from the USA Soccer Federation and several other dignitaries. I had the opportunity to briefly meet a few. It was a good time and I wish our Courage the best.

Wake County Mayors Association Hockey Outing

Sunday I joined other Wake County Mayors at the PNC arena for our annual hockey outing. We were treated to a hockey match between the two best teams in the NHL. It was Whaler night which is a throwback night to the predecessor to the Carolina Hurricanes. That is, they used to be the Hartford Whalers. I had my picture made with Plunky the Whale which was their mascot in Hartford. The match was a good one that ended up in a shootout. Unfortunately, the Canes did not win the shootout. It was a great game, and we had a lot of fun. Thanks to the Centennial Authority for hosting us..

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

On Tuesday, we had an incredible half-day workshop with Council’s Economic Development Committee focused on how the Town can better leverage the talents, skills, experience, and energy of each member in our work to keep Cary at the top of the arc from an economic development lens. The session was facilitated by Foutainworks and included topics such as the elements of inspiring communities, corridor redevelopment, development recommendations, and potential structural changes to the committee’s meetings and schedule.
This was a significant time commitment by all who attended, and I believe that it will result in substantive impacts by the committee in the months and years to come.
I want to thank Ted Boyd, Kerry Harville, and Sarah Schubert for their work in making the workshop everything I hoped it would be and more.
Enjoy your weekend.

Annual Joint Meeting with Morrisville

On April 20, we will be hosting our annual joint meeting/social with Morrisville. Morrisville Town Manager Martha Paige and I have discussed keeping the meeting focused on fellowship. With that said, if there is a particular topic or two that you would like to more formally discuss for inclusion on the agenda, please let me know by April 7.

Celebrating Trees at Arbor Day

Cary celebrated its commitment to urban forests at Arbor Day. Approximately 800 guests took part in commemorating Cary’s 40th consecutive designation as a Tree City USA community from the Arbor Day Foundation. Mayor Pro Tem Don Frantz and Council Members Ryan Eades and Carissa Kohn-Johnson honored Hometown Spirit Award winners with Arbor Day trees via a brief ceremony that was paired with tree sapling giveaways from the Ask and Arborist booth. The event was rich with environmental engagement thanks to community partner groups who helped host 24 education stations covering topics such as proper tree planting techniques, composting, native plants, and climate action. Live bird demos with a professional falconer, the chance to contribute to a tree-themed public art mural, and locally sourced food were big hits as community members enjoyed the free festivities.

Public Safety Director Toni Dezomits Retires

On Thursday, staff and community members celebrated the retirement of Public Safety Director Toni Dezomits. Toni has served the Cary community with distinction for over 25 years, and we wish her all the best!

Supporting Pollinators and Honeybees in 2023

Expanding on the success of beekeeping at South Cary Water Reclamation Facility (SCWRF), staff launched a nine-month trial period to keep honeybees at some fire stations. Staff and citizen beekeepers are working together to understand the importance and nature of bees and other pollinators, why they need our help, and how they contribute to healthy and connected ecosystems. 

2022 Asset Management Report

The 2022 Annual Asset Management Report  is complete, providing a dashboard view of the current state of Cary’s linear assets. The report tracks assets added through capital and development initiatives and helps verify the achievement of key performance targets. Over the past year, the focus has remained on GIS improvements, maintaining buried linear infrastructure, and continuing work on risk-based capital planning. One of the highlights of the report is the continued high level of sewer main rehabilitation, with significant progress along the Black Creek and Lake Crabtree corridors.

Staff Experiences More AV Tech With NC A&T

With CASSI off and running in Bond Park, staff had an opportunity to experience more autonomous driving with the students and faculty at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. As a member of North Carolina’s Future of Autonomous Vehicles (FAV) Committee, Traffic Engineer David Spencer joined other committee members to hear from Dr. Ali Karimoddini and his students about the impressive work and achievements of the Autonomous Cooperative Control of Emergent Systems of Systems (ACCESS) Laboratory. NC A&T’s ACCESS Lab has developed a rural testing track in Brown Summit, where they test a developing fleet of autonomous shuttles and vehicles for operations in a rural environment. The ACCESS Lab will move on to test their vehicles in an urban environment by providing a connection from the NC A&T campus to downtown Greensboro, featuring a one-mile loop that connects restaurants and shops. This experience was valuable as staff further understood the capabilities of various AV technology and how it could be applied in a wide range of applications.

Sensors Along Davis Drive

Cary has partnered with NC State University to study the viability and impact of road treatments as a possible tool to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Weather permitting, NC State University will place temperature, air, and light sensors at three intersections along Davis Drive next week. The sensors are attached to poles within the right-of-way and will not encumber traffic. They are expected to be in place for a week and deployed quarterly to continue gathering seasonal data on the eco-friendly road maintenance treatment.

2023 Annual Controlled Burn

The annual controlled burn was conducted at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve on Wednesday. The burn was conducted by the NC State Parks in partnership with Cary’s Fire Department and preserve staff. These burns are completed to reduce the potential for fire and to protect adjacent neighborhoods as well as improve wildlife habitat.

Speaking with Real Estate Professionals About Utility Infrastructure

Utilities Director Jamie Revels was invited to speak with a group of real estate professionals with the local Cary/Morrisville Berkshire Hathaway York Simpson Underwood office about utility infrastructure and water supply earlier this week. This was a great opportunity to share information about Cary’s utility services and how infrastructure is master planned to serve both current and long-term needs for overall utility service area including, Cary, Morrisville, Wake RTP and RDU Airport.

My Tree, Our Tree

Now in its third year, Saturday’s My Tree, Our Tree campaign sent 600 native trees into the community for citizens to plant on private property. With the enthusiastic and unabated demand, staff are increasing the number of trees that will be offered in the fall, developing a new registration process, and redesigning logistics to keep the momentum going. 

Growing Gardens at Good Hope Farm

More than 100 volunteers planted native wildflowers and grasses this spring that will support pollinators this summer at Cary’s newest ecosystem restoration site. Through partnerships with local experts and the generous efforts of volunteers, including college students from the University of Georgia who joined us for their Alternative Spring Break Service Project, these sites are building valuable wildlife corridors for birds, bees, and butterflies in our community and beyond.

Counting Down to Count You In

In addition to Arbor Day festivities, this week featured the soft launch of Count me in, Cary! Stewardship Strategies for a Sustainable Future. Staff, consultants, and volunteers continue to elevate efforts that will culminate and be ready to fly at Cary’s Spring Daze Earth Day celebration and beyond. Keep an eye out as the coming six months will feature topics to learn about and engage with including: Community Resilience, Energy, Water Infrastructure, Transportation and Mobility, Solid Waste, and Natural Resources.

Cary Chamber Business Expo

Staff from Planning and Development Services joined more than 70 businesses at the Cary Chamber’s 2023 Business Expo. The Expo is always a great opportunity to talk with other businesses and citizens about the development process and all the exciting projects shaping Cary. 

Upcoming Meetings

Planning and Zoning Board
Monday, March 27
at 6:30 p.m.

Preservation Month Committee of HPC
Monday, March 27
at 7:00 p.m.

Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning
Wednesday, March 29
at 6:30 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A comment about my grammar in last week’s post.
  • A complaint about a staff member at a committee meeting.
  • A complaint about homeless people on state property.
  • An invitation to see Biden coming to Durham next week.

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a State of Cary address at the Templeton, meeting with citizens and candidates, participating in a history event, and a North Carolina Metro Mayors meeting.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, April 2nd, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communication with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

S Line, ATC Board, CASSI, Youth Leadership, CAMPO, Wake County Sheriff, State of Cary at Glenaire, and Cary Matters for April

Town Manager One-On-One

Monday I met with the town manager briefly to go over a few items. Topics included the CASSI pilot at Bond Park that was partially funded by NCDOT, and a potential new pickleball center at the Cary Tennis Park.


Monday I watched a taped presentation of the S Line. ​The S-Line is a freight rail line, owned by CSX, that connects Richmond, Virginia, to Tampa, Florida. A portion of the former Seaboard Air Railroad mainline, North Carolina and Virginia are purchasing the right of way for the S-line between Petersburg, Virginia, and Raleigh, North Carolina, to grow freight and passenger rail services.

The S Line was originally designated in 1992. Interest and funding lagged for years. Now there is a renewed effort by the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) to create a high-speed rail with speeds of 110 mph from Raleigh to Washington, D.C. In 2020 funds were granted to begin the purchase of the corridor. In 2022 funds were granted for surveys and mobility hubs. The criteria for additional funding would require commitments to build transit-oriented development along the routes. A $220 million Siemens facility to build the latest version of commuter trains will be in Lexington.

ATC Board Meeting

Monday night I participated in a two-hour meeting of the Atlantic Tire Championships Board. We talked about the future expansion of the Cary Tennis Park for about an hour. The remainder of the time was spent discussing items related to this year’s tournament.


Tuesday morning I was joined by council member Eades for the official opening of the CASSI (Connected Autonomous Shuttle Supporting Innovation) pilot at Bond Park that will run through June 2nd. I provided remarks in addition to NC Secretary of Transportation Boyette and a representative of BEEP who built and maintains the vehicle. My remarks included the following:

“… groundbreaking project is poised to revolutionize the way we think about transportation and technology.

… CASSI is a powerful symbol of our commitment to a greener, cleaner future. By using electric power, CASSI will reduce our city’s carbon footprint and help to mitigate the effects of climate change. This is a critical goal, and I am proud that our city is leading the way in this effort.

… Today we may view this vehicle as unique and unusual. By the time my one-year-old grandson is my age he may view steering wheels and people driving cars as unique and unusual. …”

The event was attended by dozens of people including Cary staff who worked hard to make this a reality. Also attended were others who helped get this pilot going. WRAL and CBS17 covered the event.

Youth Leadership

Later Tuesday I provided remarks to several dozen young men and women participating in the Cary Chambers Youth Leadership Day. My remarks included the type of governments in various states (Dillons versus Home Rule), the types of council structures (strong mayor versus council-manager), various leadership styles, and the type of decisions we make in Cary. Afterwards, I answered a few questions, took a group picture, and several selfies.


The meeting included six consent items, one public hearing, and three discussion items. One consent item included a DCHC MPO (Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization) MPO project swap with CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) which will fund and advance four projects including the Trinity Road Railroad Grade Separation project in Cary. The consent items were approved unanimously.

Amendment #11 to the Fiscal Year 2020-2029 Transportation Improvement Program was approved pending no negative comments.

The meeting also included presentations on the 2025-2025 Wake Bus Plan, the draft Fiscal Year 2024 Wake Transit Work Plan, and an update on the Rapid Bus Extension Major Investment Study.

The meeting concluded after about an hour.

Wake County Sheriff

Thursday morning I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Wake County Sheriff, Willie Rowe, for about half an hour. We pledged to build stronger relationships and communications between our organizations. We discussed our thoughts on the future and the challenges we will face. I look forward to working with Sheriff Rowe.

State of Cary – Glenaire

Thursday afternoon I presented an updated version of the State of Cary address to about 100 residents of the Glenaire retirement community. After the presentation Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz, who is also their district representative, joined me at the podium to answer questions. Several concerns were expressed including crossing Cornwall Road to the new buildings and the closing of department stores in Cary such as Belk at the old Cary Town Center.

Cary Matters with Ryan Eades

Thursday evening I joined our newest council member, Ryan Eades, in the April taping of Cary Matters. We used the episode to introduce Ryan to the public and talk about the Count Me in, Cary campaign. It was a long episode, and we did two entire takes followed by additional takes of certain segments.

County Me in, Cary

This is our campaign to “explore the impacts of a changing climate, identify challenges and opportunities, and implement solutions that work for us.” Over the coming months, we are assessing potential initiatives and our community’s contribution to climate change and the environment. There are six surveys that focus on a variety of topics that will be available from now through the end of summer. Your feedback will help create strategies for action. So please take the surveys.

North Carolina Metro Mayors

Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. Here is a summary of legislative actions for this week from KTS Strategies:

Governor’s Budget Proposal

Governor Cooper released his recommended biennial budget for FY 2023-2025 on Wednesday. The proposal includes an average 18 percent teacher raise over the biennium, maintains the corporate tax rate at 2.5 percent, and implements an 8 percent raise for all state employees over the biennium. The plan would also allocate over $1 billion for mental health, $1.5 billion in new funding for childcare and early childhood education needs, and $6.8 billion in reserves.

House and Senate leadership characterized the Governor’s proposal as “reckless.”  As part of his full response, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) stated, “Governor Cooper’s budget proposal takes the same reckless approach to spending that his fellow Democrats have taken in Washington. Unfortunately, this kind of runaway spending has resulted in a failing economy that has left millions of Americans behind.” You can read Senator Berger’s statement on the budget proposal here.

The Governor’s proposed budget is the first official step in the state budget process. The legislature alternates in which chamber the budget starts every biennium. This year, the House will begin the process. The House has already been working on their proposal and plans to have their version passed in early April. The Senate will then pass their version (likely in May) and the two chambers will negotiate in a conference committee until a final compromise has been reached. The goal is to have a budget completed before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

Opioid Epidemic

This week, the Senate considered S189, Fentanyl Drug Offenses and Related Changes. The bill would increase the fines for trafficking heroin, fentanyl, or carfentanil from a baseline of $50,000 to $500,0000. It would also provide limited criminal immunity to someone who possesses less than one gram of any controlled substance if the person is seeking medical assistance for an overdose and establish a new Task Force on Enforcement of Fentanyl and Heroin Drug Violations. S189 passed unanimously on the Senate floor Tuesday. This bill is one of many that have been filed so far this year related to the opioid epidemic. We anticipate additional measures to address the crisis to be considered this session.

Gun Legislation

This week, the House considered S41, Guarantee 2nd Amendment Freedom and Protections. This bill would remove the requirement to obtain a pistol purchase permit from the sheriff’s office prior to the purchase or receipt of a pistol. Criminal background checks would still be required prior to purchase of a pistol from a federally licensed dealer. The bill would also authorize concealed carry for certain law enforcement facility employees and authorize carrying a handgun in a place of religious worship that is also educational property under certain conditions. Additionally, it would create a statewide firearm safe storage awareness initiative to educate the public about safe firearm storage, facilitate the distribution of gun locks, and provide local communities with a toolkit to launch local firearm safe storage initiatives.

The bill moved through the House Judiciary and Rules Committees this week. On Wednesday, it passed on the House floor (70-44) with three Democrats voting in favor. It will now head to the Governor for consideration.  We anticipate the Governor to veto the bill.

The meeting concluded in half an hour.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

I remain present with the knowledge that I first became known to Cary from my work developing Elgin’s 311 with Dan Ault. So it was great for both Dan and me to see all of the activities this week marking National 311 Day in Cary.
311 Assistant Director Carolyn Roman shared important reminders with staff about how everyone plays an impactful role in helping the Town deliver great customer service to our citizens. For the public, Carolyn and Citizen Advocate Sammy Campbell joined other staff at the Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Leadership Day to talk about 311 as a service and how to use it to connect with Town Hall.
As construction wraps up in the new 311 Center, look for opportunities later this spring to visit the new space, listen in on calls, and meet our citizen advocates, who are illustrated above by one of our very talented citizen advocates, Bailie Pickering!
Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend!

First Director Development Dialogue of 2023

On Monday, our directors gathered for the first in-person Director Development Dialogue of 2023. The dialogue focused on nuanced, challenging situations of leadership, with a particular emphasis on how to engage in difficult conversations with each other and teams. Through a combination of large and small group discussions, the group explored lessons learned from difficult conversations in the past, what can be done to make difficult conversations more productive, and how to navigate conflict and disagreement while preserving and even strengthening relationships. 

Youth Leadership Cary

On Tuesday, 40 high school juniors participating in the Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Leadership Cary program, spent the day with Cary staff to learn about local government and potential career paths.

Hum Sub Basant Bahar

On Sunday, the Cary Arts Center came alive with Hum Sub’s annual Basant Bahar celebration. The focus of Basant Bahar is showcasing classical Indian traditions in music and dance. Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Apex Mayor Jacques Gilbert, and Morrisville Mayor TJ Cawley, along with several Council members attended this year’s event. More than 200 performers demonstrated their unique and artistic talents for over 400 patrons who attended. Hum Sub partners with Cary to bring Diwali to Koka Booth Amphitheater each fall and Basant Bahar to the Cary Arts Center each spring. 

Top Local Government Police Negotiators

Cary’s Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) competed in the 2023 Blue Ridge Negotiator’s Challenge hosted by the North Carolina Justice Academy. They competed against crisis negotiation teams from 14 agencies from across the country. The CNT earned 1st place for a municipality, and 3rd place recognition overall – behind two federal agencies. Teams were judged on several topics including active listening, team communication, structured brainstorming, intelligence and information management and documentation, risk assessments, and the managing of demands and deadlines.

Repair Café Spring 2023

Cary hosted the Repair Café last Saturday at Herb Young Community Center. The focus of this event is to divert materials from the landfill by repairing them for reuse by our citizens. Local “fix-it coaches” utilized their skills by providing repair service for various items that were brought in for service. Overall, 54 items were repaired with a successful repair rate of 70%.

American Public Works Association-NC Conference

Srijana Guilford, Waste Strategy and Community Impact Consultant, presented how Cary embraces technology to enhance communication and engagement with the community at the American Public Works Association-NC annual conference. This event brings together the NC Chapter divisions of Leadership & Management, Facilities & Grounds, Equipment Services, Solid Waste, Stormwater Management, and Streets for training sessions focused on technology, leadership, and career development in Public Works.

2023 Summer Camp Registration

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Summer Camp registration opened for Cary residents on Monday. Residents responded in force with almost 5,000 registrations processed, ensuring summer camp fun. This year’s registration numbers saw a 55% increase compared to last year. While the overwhelming response to camps was gratifying, it came with challenges. At times, the registration system was not able to keep up with the demand. Staff is working with citizens whose registrations did not process properly, doing whatever feasible to provide a fun summer.

Carpenter Fire Station Road Bridge Pedestrian Fencing Complete

In response to safety concerns a father brought to staff’s attention regarding his son, Cary and NCDOT have worked together to install pedestrian fencing across the Carpenter Fire Station Road bridge over NC540. In addition to helping make the bridge safer for all users, staff was also able to learn more about this family and provide additional resources and opportunities through Cary’s Share and Care Program. 

RFQ Consultant Selection: Wake BRT Western Corridor Station Area Planning

Cary and Raleigh are actively preparing for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor that will connect the two downtown areas. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded a grant to support Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planning work in the station areas along this corridor. A request for qualifications (RFQ) to select a consultant to lead this effort, released in early 2023, resulted in the selection of Skidmore Owings and Merrill to support this work. Raleigh Council will consider the authorization to negotiate contracts at their March 21 Council Meeting. No action is needed from the Cary Council at this time. If you have any questions, direct them to Transit Director Kelly Blazey.

Cary Compost Classes

Interest in composting in Cary continues to grow. More than 200 Cary residents participated in the biannual Compost Giveaway Workshops at Good Hope Farm. Along with instructions on how to start backyard composting, guests received bags of finished compost, guidebooks, and tips for growing greener gardens. Participants toured Good Hope Farm and learned firsthand how compost is a fundamental aspect of regenerative agriculture. Participants were able to see how the scraps they take to the Drop-off Food Waste Recycling program can become part of the soil at Good Hope Farm.

Upcoming Meetings

Economic Development Committee
March 21 at 12:00 p.m.

Council Meeting Work Session
March 22 at 5:30 p.m. Cultural Arts Committee
March 22 at 6:00 p.m. Council Meeting
March 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A comment about the Repair Café
  • A question on who’s Cary’s Public Transit Planner
  • A complaint about getting a permit
  • A complaint and more than a dozen questions about a 2021 Mask Up Cary Campaign
  • A complaint that GoCary would be more efficient if it were door-to-door
  • A complaint about pan handling in Cary
  • A complaint that someone was smoking in a park
  • A compliment of the State of Cary address at Glenaire

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting with a local artist, a Wake County Mayors Association meeting, an Economic Development workshop, a council work session, a joint CAMPO & DCHC MPO meeting about commuter rail, the last regularly scheduled council meeting of March, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, a celebration recognizing 30 years of Cary Sister Cities, and a Wake County Mayors Association outing.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 26th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

HIRD Meeting, Council Meeting, WRAL interview, and Basant Bahar

Council Meeting Prep

Monday I attempted to contact council members to hear of concerns or questions about Thursday’s meeting agenda. The only questions were related to the road renaming discussion for Green Level West Road.

Later Monday I met with management and directors to go over the agenda. Based on the items, it appeared the meeting would be short.

Town Manager One-On-One

My last meeting Monday was with the town manager for our weekly one-on-one. We had a quick debrief of the recent council-staff retreat. We also talked about the upcoming work session on March 22nd when we will discuss affordable housing and the E-Bike pilot.

Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force Meeting

Tuesday evening I attended a meeting of the Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force. The meeting started with a discussion on pride month and what could be done to help inform the LGBTQ+ community of safe places.

The task force spent the remainder of the meeting providing ideas for the definition of their three pillars: Access, Public Safety, and Relationships & Community Engagement.

As the liaison, I provided information on current activities within the town such as Cary 101, Basant Bahar, and CASSI at Bond Park. Our meeting concluded after about an hour and forty minutes.

Council Meeting

Thursday the council held its first regularly scheduled council meeting of March. The agenda included a presentation, six consent items, one public hearing, and one discussion item. The consent agenda was approved unanimously.

The meeting started with a presentation from the CAP (Citizens Assisting Police) team who are graduates of the Citizen Police Academy. They assist police in several activities including public events, child safety seat installations, clerical duties, service staffing, promoting community watch, and more. The save us thousands of dollars every year with their valuable services. They presented a check representing the dollar amount saved by their work which was well over $100,000. Thank you CAP team!

The public hearing was for the annexation of a 32.92-acre parcel located in the southwest quadrant of the Mills Road and Green Level Church Road intersection and of an adjoining 6.01-acre parcel located at 7824-7828 Emery Gayle Lane. Since the properties were in our ETJ (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction), the rezonings (21-REZ-07 and 21-REZ-19) were approved without the need for an annexation which is usually prior. The approval of this annexation was unanimous.

The discussion item was whether or not to direct staff to start a process of renaming Green Level West Road to High House. The renaming would be from Highway 55 to Green Level Church Road. The council asked the staff to begin this process which will include an investigation, public hearings, and more.

The council meeting concluded in less than an hour.

NC Metro Mayors

Friday morning I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors where we discussed legislative actions. Here is a summary of legislative actions for the week from KTS Strategies:

Budget Update

On Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) announced an agreement on total spending for the 2023-2024 state budget. Leadership has agreed to a 6.5 percent increase in the first year and 3.75 percent in the second year. Based on last year’s spending numbers, this is an approximate $2.8 billion increase. This year’s budget process will begin in the House. The current goal is for the House to have their version of the budget completed by the first week of April. The Senate will then complete their version before the two chambers negotiate in a conference committee to finalize the final proposal. The goal is to have a budget completed before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. 

State of the State

Governor Cooper delivered his State of the State address on Monday night. The Governor acknowledged the State’s great economic success and commended the bipartisan accomplishments of state leadership, including an agreement on Medicaid expansion. He also voiced the need for the General Assembly to invest in childhood education based on the still ongoing Leandro case and urged against more corporate tax cuts. Governor Cooper also announced a comprehensive behavioral health plan that was officially released on Wednesday.

Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson delivered the Republican response. Lt. Governor Robinson touted the accomplishments of the NC General Assembly under Republican leadership. He also emphasized the importance of the state’s workforce, education, and law enforcement. His full response can be viewed here.

Medicaid Expansion

The legislature’s Medicaid expansion deal was presented to the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday. The Senate gutted and amended the original House plan (H76, Access to Healthcare Options). The bill would do the following:

  • Provide Medicaid coverage through NC Health Works to adults aged 18-64 with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level;
  • Enact various workforce development measures to promote employment among Medicaid enrollees; 
  • Remove the following from certificate of need review:
    • Psychiatric beds and facilities;
    • Chemical dependency treatment beds and facilities;
    • Replacement equipment up to $3 million, indexed to inflation;
    • Aggregate total of $3 million for all the equipment at a diagnostic center that individually exceeds $10,000; 
    • Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment services to children under age 21 at home health agencies in compliance with federal law.
  • Exempt ambulatory surgical centers and MRI machines in counties with a population greater than 125,000 from certificate of need review.

The Medicaid expansion provision would be contingent on passage of the state budget. The bill was approved by the Senate Health and Finance Committees this week. We anticipate the bill to pass in both chambers next week.

WRAL Interview on LBGTQ+ Crime

Friday afternoon I was interviewed by WRAL about vandalization and stealing of LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter flags on Greenwood Forest Baptist Church property. I expressed disappointment that this happened in Cary since we are such a loving and caring community that embraces everyone. I also let them know that we will not tolerate these crimes and that the perpetrators will be prosecuted. I added that even though are welcoming community we are looking for ways to improve with our Human Relations, Inclusion, Diversity task force which meets monthly.

White Oak Community Center Visit

Friday evening I joined Council member Johnson, Council member Bush, Assistant Town Manager Widmar, and Housing and CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) Manager Mansa in a visit to the White Oak Foundation center. We heard about all the programs and all the great achievements they have made to the citizens in our community including a day care which is under construction. In addition we listened to a proposal about affordable housing units for purchase that they plan to build in the future. Within the next year they plan to build 30 townhomes. Afterwards, they plan to build age restricted multi-family units. We talked about possible ways to partner to add affordable housing in this area. It is a blessing that we have the White Oak Foundation in Cary.

Basant Bahar

Sunday afternoon I provided welcoming remarks at the Basant Bahar celebration at the Cary Arts Center. Mayor Cawley from Morrisville and Mayor Gilbert from Apex were in attendance along with Cary Mayor Pro-Tem Frantz, council member Eades, council member Johnson, and council member Bush. We were first treated to classical Indian music supported by the Cary Concert singers. That was followed by a clap/stomp routine which combined classical Indian dancers along with Hip Hop type dancers. The following hours of music and dance were just as amazing. We are blessed to have such diversity in our community.

NCDOT Offramp Proposal

NCDOT is proposing a Crossroads Junction interchange project (I-40/I-440/US 1/US 64 interchange) project. You can view the three alternatives at https://publicinput.com/40-440-us1-interchange . This project is not currently in NCDOT’s 10-year work plan, called the STIP (State Transportation Improvement Plan). However, the STIP is updated every two years. The current draft 2024 – 2033 STIP, which is out for review, adds this project with a schedule design to build beginning in 2026. Residents of Wellington are upset that proposals have a removal of the sound wall protecting their neighborhood. There is a public meeting on March 14, from 4-7 pm, at Hope Community Church in Raleigh located on 821 Buck Jones Road. Cary staff will be present at this meeting and will comment on the noise wall. I would encourage citizens that are concerned about the NCDOT proposal to attend this meeting or make comments at https://publicinput.com/40-440-us1-interchange.

Soliciting in Cary

This week I was asked if No Soliciting signs are enforceable. Here is how the police chief responded:

“… Cary PD cannot enforce a no solicitation sign. Nor can we really enforce an HOA neighborhood no trespassing sign. However, we can enforce properly posted no trespassing signs on individual property. Enforcement can also occur if an individual has been personally warned prior and returns or refuses to leave your property after first being warned. …”

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

On Monday, I joined Council Member Ryan Eades, Shelley Curran, Jerry Jensen, and Nicole Coughlin for a ride on the Connected Autonomous Shuttle Supporting Innovation (CASSI) at Bond Park. The official ribbon cutting for the shuttle service is on Tuesday, March 14 at 9:00 a.m., at the Cary Senior Center, and we look forward to learning from riders about their experience during the pilot. 
Have a safe and relaxing weekend.

More Teslas on the Streets of Cary

Last week six Tesla model 3’s arrived in Cary. The additions to Cary’s electric fleet will be used by the Police and Utilities departments, and one will be available as a loner vehicle in the staff fleet pool. These will hit the streets of Cary in the next few weeks.

March Into Earth Day with Environmental Events

The Cary community is encouraged to grow green this spring through the March Into Earth Day campaign. Dozens of environmental events, celebrations, and workshops are taking place now through the end of April – when we celebrate Earth Day at Spring Daze in Bond Park. Participants can sign up for free compost, learn about backyard gardening, ask an arborist about tree care, and more through diverse opportunities designed to support Cary’s commitment to protecting our land, air, and water. The complete lineup of activities will be promoted through social media, printed materials, and the one-stop-shop webpage at www.carync.gov/green

2022 Annual Biosolids Report

Cary’s Water Reclamation Facilities (WRF) utilize thermal drying at both the South Cary and Western Wake Regional Water Reclamation Facilities for managing and treating biosolids, a nutrient-rich byproduct of wastewater treatment. Cary produces EPA-Certified, Class A Exceptional Quality biosolids by recovering valuable nutrients from the wastewater for beneficial reuse in a natural fertilizer and soil amendment product. In 2022, the North Cary and South Cary WRF together produced 3,825 dry tons and the Western Wake Regional WRF produced 2,697 dry tons of biosolids. Cary’s high-quality dried biosolids, known as Enviro-Gems are marketed to a vendor for use in the agribusiness industry. Read the entire 2022 Annual Biosolids Report  here.

Transit Signal Priority Pilot Underway for GoCary Buses

Cary’s Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) and GoCary are piloting Transit Signal Priority (TSP) on GoCary’s Route 5 along Kildaire Farm Road. Five GoCary buses have been outfitted and testing was completed this week. TSP adjusts the signals to prioritize GoCary buses when they are running late. TSP can be a powerful tool to improve reliability and travel time for riders. Riders regularly transfer buses at the Cary Depot. If a bus is more than 5 minutes late, riders could miss their transfer and have to wait an additional half hour. During the pilot, when a bus is running behind schedule, the traffic signals in the direction of travel adjust to change the light to green or hold the light green within set limits. This pilot is part of Cary’s Connected Vehicle project and Smart Cities initiative. Thank you to Transportation, GoCary and Public Works staff who have been collaborating on this system.

Bid Advertisement: FY23 Traffic Calming – Multiple Locations

Traffic engineering staff recently advertised to solicit contractor bids for the installation of new speed humps in several locations around Cary. A continuation of the FY23 traffic calming capital improvements, these devices are highly anticipated by the residents of the Picardy Pointe, Belmont and Brookstone subdivisions. Upon completion of the informal bid process and successful contractor selection later this month, work is anticipated to begin this Spring. 

North Carolina GIS Conference 2023

Since 1987, the NC Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Conference  has brought together professionals and academia to share in their experiences and learn about current trends and technologies affecting the GIS community. The conference is consistently one of the largest state GIS conferences in the nation. This year Transportation Engineer Amir Nezarati and Civil Designer Coray Davis were selected to present with Benesch on Cary’s Street Improvements Project. The 2023 conference was held in Winston-Salem, and the presentation focused on efforts to utilize GIS field collection programs for increased efficiency with GIS Technology to assist in analysis and decision making within our street improvement process. These systems are critical in maintaining quality roads for Cary citizens.

Public Meeting Hosted by NCDOT on March 14

NCDOT plans to redesign the I-40/I-440 and US 1/US 64 interchange and add additional lanes on I-40 between the interchange and Lake Wheeler Road to improve safety and traffic flow. For simplicity staff refers to NCDOT’s project as Crossroads Junction as this is the major crossroads of two interstate highways. This project is anticipated to begin construction in 2025.

Citizens can review NCDOT’s preferred design concept, ask questions and provide feedback online or in-person at the March 14 public meeting. The meeting is set for March 14 from 4-7 pm at Hope Community Church, 821 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh. If you cannot attend in-person, project information including, maps and a question/comment form are currently posted online at www.publicinput.com/40-440-us1-interchange.

It’s A Wrap

The relocation of the historic Ivey-Ellington House was a success! If you walk downtown this weekend, you will notice a new colorful fence wrap around the house. Featuring new Cary colors and architectural details of the house, this wrap will be recycled into tote bags once the project is complete. The site will remain active throughout the rehabilitation process, which is expected to begin in the coming months.

Other Municipalities Seek Assistance for Public Art Programs

Recently, our own Denise Dickens provided an overview of Cary’s Public Art Program to the Sanford City Council during their February retreat held in Cary. She has also been sharing information regarding the Public Art Program with the Director of Planning in Burgaw and Morrisville’s Planning Department.

It is exciting to see other cities in North Carolina looking to Cary as a model and great example of a Public Art Program that is integrating the thinking of artists into the design and creative placemaking of spaces Cary residents live, work and play!

Landscaping Installation

NCDOT and Cary are installing landscaping at the NC540 and Morrisville Parkway Interchange this spring. Over 450 trees will be installed in the roundabouts and medians on Morrisville Parkway as well as the loops and ramps leading from NC540 to Morrisville Parkway.

Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meeting – March 29, 2023

The Neighborhood Meeting will be held virtually on WebEx from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on March 29, 2023. The following case will be discussed:

For more information and to register visit the Virtual Neighborhood Rezoning Meeting page.

Upcoming Meetings

National Preservation Month Committee of HPC
March 13 at 7:00 p.m.

CASSI First Ride Event
March 14
9:00 a.m.

Environmental Advisory Board
March 14
6:00 p.m.

Public Art Advisory Board
March 15
6:15 p.m.

Greenway Committee
March 16
6:00 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A comment about the first phase of future commuter rail
  • A concern that the land, which includes a mobile home park, near Chatham and Maynard is being sold and that sale would eliminate affordable housing
  • A request to have a legacy bench installed at the lake next to Booth Amphitheater
  • A complaint about ticket fees at Koka Booth
  • A concern about future interchange improvements at US1 by NCDOT
  • A question about soliciting in Cary
  • A complaint that someone was smoking in a park

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, an Atlantic Tire Championships Board meeting, the CASSI Ribbon Cutting, a Youth Leadership talk, A CAMPO Executive Board meeting, a meeting with the Wake County Sheriff, a State of Cary address at Glenaire, a taping of Cary Matters, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro mayors.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 19th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Commuter Rail, Economic Development, and Heart of Cary Presentation

CAMPO Commuter Rail Subcommittee

Tuesday I participated in a subcommittee meeting of Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board to discuss the future commuter rail in this area. Three phases of commuter rail were presented to the committee with the Central phase, Garner to RTP, being the highest priority.

Due to the lack of density and other criteria, the commuter rail project didn’t qualify for federal funds. Part of the job of the committee is to make recommendations on how to proceed without those funds. It is believed that by the time the second phase is ready to be implemented we will qualify for federal funding.

The committee expressed interest in meeting with a similar subcommittee from the Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC) before the end of the month to discuss their possible participation.

A recommendation on how to proceed will be made to CAMPO by GoTriangle on March 29th.

Economic Development Committee

Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Economic Development Committee. The meeting started with a quarterly summary of activity from the President of the Cary Chamber. Here are a few points from that report:

  • Deutsche Bank will be adding 100 jobs with more to come.
  • Greenberg Gibbons Properties is targeting June of this year to begin grading on a 15-acre site for industrial/flex space in west Cary.
  • Another large tract of 142 acres, which will have 700,000 square feet of flex/industrial space is expected to have approvals by late summer.
  • Class A office is slow. There has been interest in the 15,000 to 25,000 square foot range. Downtown, Fenton, and Regency can accommodate those space needs.

The town’s report was presented by the Chief Strategy Officer. She noted that new EPA requirements for water will include new rules and standards which Cary already meets.

The Economic Development Director and a consultant representative gave a preview of the half day workshop to be held on March 21st.

This was followed by a concept presentation of what town hall campus could look like if redeveloped. An RFQ (Request for Quote) will go out in about a month for the town hall campus.

The next Economic Development Committee, outside the upcoming workshop, will be on June 7th.  

Heart of Cary Presentation

On Thursday morning I presented a slightly modified version of the State of Cary address. I added slides about the potential redevelopment of town hall campus, the Walnut Creek greenway, the Ivey Ellington House, and the Kildaire Farm Road visioning. The event was held at the Cary Chamber offices and there were about three dozen in attendance including NC State Senator Gale Adcock, Mayor Pro-Tem Don Frantz, and council member Ryan Eades. The presentation took about 40 minutes.

North Carolina Metro Mayors

Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. The following is a legislative summary for this week from KTS Strategies:

State of the State

Governor Cooper will deliver his State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly on Monday, March 6 at 7:00 PM. This speech is delivered every two years and has historically been a time for the Governor to express the types of legislation he would like to see passed and give insight to some of his potential budget proposals. There will be a Republican rebuttal following the speech. This year, Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson will give the Republican response.

Medicaid Expansion

On Thursday, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) held a joint press conference announcing an agreement on Medicaid expansion. Specific language has not been released, but legislation is expected to be filed soon. Senator Berger said the legislature “will move with all deliberate speed to move this forward.” The compromise will include a partial repeal of the Certificate of Need laws. While Governor Cooper was not included in the House and Senate negotiations, he issued a statement commending the hard work, but would like the plan to start immediately. Legislative leadership’s implementation timeline would be contingent on passage of the state budget. The goal is for a budget to passed by June 30.

Medical Marijuana

S3, NC Compassionate Care Act, received final approval from the Senate this week. The bill would legalize medical marijuana for qualified patients with a debilitating medical condition and create a Medical Cannabis Production Commission to oversee medical cannabis supplier licenses. Each supplier would be required to operate at least one medical cannabis center in a Tier 1 County. S3 passed third reading on the Senate floor with a vote of 36-10. It is unclear if there is enough support in the House to pass the legislation.

Official State Cookie

North Carolina may soon have an official state cookie. H89 would adopt the Moravian cookie as the official state cookie. The bill would also adopt the Moravian star as the official state star. The bill passed unanimously on the House floor Wednesday. It will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” – Frederick R. Barnard
Enjoy your weekend.

Annual Change in Water Disinfection is Underway

The Cary/Apex Water Treatment facility began its annual disinfection process change on Wednesday. During this period, the facility switches from the standard mixture of chlorine and ammonia for disinfection to free chlorine. Water line flushing to cleanse the system has also begun. During this time, you may see Cary staff flushing hydrants, which is a normal part of the process. This change, which will continue until April 15, is in accordance with state and federal recommendations and is part of our normal water system maintenance process. During the switchover period, residents and customers may notice a minor increase in chlorine odor and temporary discoloration of water due to nearby hydrant flushing. These changes will be temporary and are a normal part of the process.

EPA Expected to Announce Proposed PFAS Regulations

As first reported at the November Quarterly Meeting, staff is closely following updates and information expected from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to announce proposed per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) regulations for drinking water. PFAS are a class of man-made chemicals used for consumer product applications such as waterproof and stainproof fabrics, nonstick cookware, some food packaging materials, and fire suppression foams. PFAS related substances are quite prevalent in a wide range of consumer products and have been detected in our water supply from Jordan Lake. The announcement from EPA to set targets for a maximum contaminant level or MCL is expected soon. The process of establishing an effective regulation for PFAS is expected to take 3 to 5 years.

Cary and Apex have invested in PFAS removal systems and technology at our Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility and we are continuing to study and pilot test even more sophisticated water treatment technologies with our partners. While the anticipated regulations are expected to be very restrictive, Cary’s water system is well prepared to meet this challenge and has been successfully treating for the reduction of PFAS from our drinking water for several years. More detailed information is available at our web page by following key word search, “PFAS.”
In addition, this email from Utilities Director Jamie Revels, provides additional context.

2023 Cary 101 Applications Open

Cary 101 will return for another year of engaging presentations and hands-on activities this spring. The six-week long program serves as an opportunity for citizens to increase their understanding of local government and spur even greater community involvement. Selected participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at Cary’s culture, departments, and operations before graduation in May. Applications are open now through March 15. For more information and to apply, visit www.carync.gov/cary101.

Wake Transit Plan Updates Available for Comment

Wake Transit has two new draft plans ready for public review and comment. The FY24 Draft Work Plan covers investments for the next fiscal year, including:

  • Continued funding for GoCary Route 7, and Sunday service, and expanded midday service on all GoCary routes
  • Capital funding for bus stop improvements
  • Funding for the construction of GoCary’s new Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility (BOMF)
    • The FY2025-30 Draft Bus Plan Update includes new investments in fixed route services through the end of the decade, including:
  • All-day local service between Apex and Cary starting in FY25
  • A new GoCary route serving Maynard Rd., Chapel Hill Rd., and parts of Eastern Cary, with connecting service to GoRaleigh, GoTriangle, and the NC State Wolfline near the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh
  • Additional funding for bus stop improvements and enhanced transfer points between services

Review and comment on both plans here. Comments are accepted through March 22.

Community Centers Information Gathering Update

In December, Cary kicked off an online convenience survey that closed on February 28. During this time, approximately 3,800 participants responded, weighing in on programming and other desires for both proposed community centers. Our consultant teams will review and report findings in the coming months. To wrap up this phase, staff attended the recent Teen Council Meeting with 250 teens in attendance who took the survey and participated in a dot exercise. The next step includes developing scenarios based on the feedback provided.

Spring My Tree, Our Tree Registration Sparks a Burst of Activity

Citizen enthusiasm for the My Tree, Our Tree campaign continues to grow. Within an hour of registration opening Tuesday morning, eager citizens reserved all 500 trees. Staff identified issues that overwhelmed the registration system and are working to resolve them by the fall giveaway. We look forward to March 18, when participants will pick up their American Elm, Little Gem Magnolia, Dogwood, or Beautyberry to enhance the beauty of their yard and contribute to the community’s tree canopy and environmental health. 

9-1-1 Goes to Washington

Emergency Communications Shift Supervisor Jeremy Schwartzman joined hundreds of 9-1-1 professionals and other government leaders in our nation’s capital to address today’s most pressing 9-1-1 and emergency communications issues. This annual event through the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) is the only event that addresses policy challenges facing 9-1-1 centers nationwide through dialogue with elected and appointed officials in Washington, DC.

Fire Personnel Attend CPSE Excellence Conference

At the 2023 Excellence conference, sponsored by the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE), Assistant Fire Chief Matt Jacoby presented a talk titled, Credentialing Process Explained. This presentation walked interested fire service personnel through preparing their application for professional credentialing. Battalion Chief Alicia Dismuke, Assistant Fire Marshal Michael Tatum, and Business Specialist Bonnie McDonald also attended, where they participated in sessions on accreditation, credentialing, leadership, and changes and opportunities in the fire service.

Black History Month Recap

The month of February was filled with programs highlighting the varied contributions of African Americans to the culture and intellectual vibrancy of our community and nation. Adopting the theme of “Unsung Titans of the ’70s & ’80s”; programs took a fun trip back in time to see how some of these artists influenced our culture. A series of films at The Cary Theater highlighted the work of black artists in cinema, and the Page-Walker hosted an exhibition of celebrated African American artist Eric McRay. The Cary Youth Theater created a student-authored show entitled “Celebrating Our Heroes”; and Pure Life Theater Company introduced their upcoming production of “The Face of Emmet Till”. The contributions of Black athletes were highlighted in the final weekend with a focus on martial arts. The Cary Theater hosted a premiere screening of the documentary “Grandmaster: The Vic Moore Story” with a Q&A with the filmmaker and 4x Karate Champion and subject of the film Victor Moore.

On February 22, the Cary Senior Center hosted “Taste of Black History” luncheon. “A Taste of Black History” merged pieces of African American history along with some African American inspired cuisine and staple menu items. With over 60 people in attendance, we discussed the background of some of our favorite foods and enjoyed some traditional soul food items while also being challenged with trivia that focused on modern day contributions of African Americans. 

Upcoming Meetings

Parks, Rec, & Cultural Resources
Monday March 6
at 5:15 p.m.

Information Services Advisory Board 
Monday, March 6
at 6:00 p.m.

Human Relations, Inclusion & Diversity
Tuesday, March 7
at 6:00 p.m.

Historic Preservation Commission
Wednesday, March 8
at 6:30 p.m.

Council Meeting
Thursday March 9
at 6:30 p.m.

Soliciting in Cary

This week I received a complaint about soliciting in Cary. The request was to create ordinances to prevent soliciting. Here is the response from the town attorney:

“… Cary does have an ordinance regulating soliciting.  You can find it here:  https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/cary/latest/cary_nc/0-0-0-62603#JD_20-3; and the Police Department has some information on this on the Town’s website:  https://www.carync.gov/services-publications/police/faq-5367 

As a brief summary, people who are selling things door-to-door in Cary should obtain a permit from the Town through the Police Department.  Cary does not regulate the circulation of petitions, expression of political or religious views, or solicitations by charitable or nonprofit organizations, and does not require a permit for those activities.

If you or your neighbors have concerns about solicitors, I would suggest calling the Police Department non-emergency number (unless there is a true emergency where immediate response is needed). The non-emergency number is (919) 469-4012.  They would be happy to talk to you. 

Citizens who have concerns or ideas for the Town are always welcome to email the Mayor and council, as you did, and also to come to a Council meeting and provide public comments. Instructions for that are here: https://www.carync.gov/connect-engage/transparency/public-hearings/public-speaks-out …”

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A complaint soliciting in Cary
  • A complaint about not being able to get a tree on line with My Tree, Our Tree program
  • A complaint about the Kanoy Property proposal
  • A complaint about police and the need for police reform

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force meeting, a meeting with the Sheriff, the first regularly scheduled council meeting of March, a meeting about the White Oak Community Center, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, and speaking at Basant Bahar.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 12th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Ivey-Ellington House Moved, Wake County Mayors, Town and State Dinner, Panel Discussion, and Council-Staff Retreat

Ivey-Ellington House Move

Monday morning I joined dozens of people to watch the move of the Ivey-Ellington house to its new location on the old library site. I had the honor of meeting and talking with members of the Ivey family who were attending the move.

While the move took about four hours, I was only able to watch the move for two. During that time, it went from its starting location at 204 Academy Street (moved there on February 17th from Chatham) to its new location at 308 Academy Street. The move was a success with no loss of trees or damage to the house.

Wake County Mayors Association

Monday night I hosted a meeting of the Wake County Mayors in Fenton. Attending were mayors from Apex, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, Wendell, and Zebulon. We were given a tour of Fenton by the General Manager which was followed by dinner at Colletta’s. Our monthly roundtable discussion included whether or not we provided an annual address, and if we were having an annual retreat. All municipalities in Wake County have had or will be having an annual retreat. This is not necessarily the case for some municipalities in North Carolina. Our meeting, including the tour, lasted about three hours.

Town Manager One-On-One

Tuesday morning the town manager and I reviewed the items for the annual staff-council meeting (retreat). Even though we were meeting for two days it was hard to imagine we would complete the agenda.

NCLM Town and State Dinner

Wednesday I joined council member Johnson in attending the 5th Annual North Carolina League of Municipalities Town and State Dinner at the Raleigh Convention Center. There was about an hour for mingling where I had the opportunity to meet and talk with other mayors and elected officials from across the state. During dinner I was honored to sit with such great legislators as Dan Blue. It is my hope that one day the legislature will figure out how to work as one united body with a common goal rather than a group divided by partisan politics.

TCC Mayors Panel

Thursday Morning, I joined Mayor O’Neal of Durham and Mayor Gilbert of Apex for a panel discussion hosted by Triangle Community Coalition in Brier Creek. Most of the questions were focused on Economic Development and impacts on Economic Development. Mayor O’Neal talked about homelessness, crime, and a variety of other issues that aren’t as severe in Cary and Apex as they are in Durham. While our issues and priorities may be different, it is very important for all communities to work together and listen to each other’s issues. In an effort to build and strengthen relationships with our neighboring municipalities, Cary’s council will be meeting with councils from Apex and Morrisville in the upcoming weeks.

NC Metro Mayors

The North Carolina Metro Mayors met on Friday morning to hear about legislative actions. Here is a summary of legislative actions by KTS Strategies:

Medial Marijuana

S3, NC Compassionate Care Act, passed the Senate Judiciary and Senate Finance Committees this week. The bill would legalize medical marijuana for qualified patients with a debilitating medical condition. Several amendments were offered and approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee. To increase access in rural areas, one amendment would require each supplier to operate at least one medical cannabis center in a Tier 1 County. It also directs the Medical Cannabis Production Commission to consider priority to suppliers committed to ensuring equitable distribution of medical cannabis centers. The bill has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee. We anticipate the bill to be heard on the Senate floor next week.

Gun Legislation

The House passed two pieces of legislation related to firearms – H50, Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal and H72, Firearm Safe Storage Awareness Initiative. H50 would remove the requirement to obtain a pistol purchase permit from the sheriff’s office prior to the purchase or receipt of a pistol. Criminal background checks would still be required prior to purchase of a pistol from a federally licensed dealer. The bill passed along party lines (67-48).

H72 directs the Department of Public Safety, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Wildlife Resources Commission to work collaboratively to create a two-year firearm safety program. The goal of the program would be to educate the public on safe storage of firearms and to facilitate the distribution of gun locks. The bill passed on Wednesday with a vote of 111-4.

Last week, the Senate passed S41, Guarantee 2nd Amendment Freedom and Protections. This bill includes the pistol purchase permit repeal language and firearm safe storage awareness initiative the House passed. Additionally, S41 would authorize concealed carry for certain law enforcement facility employees and authorize carrying a handgun in a place of religious worship that is also educational property under certain conditions. The bill passed along party lines (29-19).

Council-Staff Retreat

On Thursday the council traveled to Wilmington for two days of meetings with staff. Six members of council met Thursday night for dinner in which we were not allowed to talk about Cary business. We spent the time learning about each other’s backgrounds and families.

The retreat started Friday morning with a reflection on our shared successes. This was followed by an icebreaker and manager’s vision for the retreat.

Our featured speaker for the morning session was former Raleigh City Manager Ruffin Hall. His talk was an insight into North Carolina Local Governments, their governmental issues, and organizational issues.

The afternoon session began with the Council’s role in intergovernmental relations. This discussion focused on good governance, partnerships, and building relationships with legislators and other municipalities.

The last session on Friday was a prioritizing exercise for six major upcoming projects without considering funding. We prioritized, discussed, and then re-prioritized.

The future Walnut Street greenway and linear park from downtown to Fenton and beyond received the highest votes, followed by the Mills Park Community Center,

the Cary Tennis Park expansion, the Centre at South Hills, the Earnest Jones property, and the Wake Med Soccer Park. This prioritization exercise was not a decision on what would happen first but to gage interest of council members about projects.

Saturday started with a group picture. Afterwards we heard from our keynote speaker, Joe Watson, whose business is to advise and coach senior leaders in the areas of leadership, relationship building, and credibility strengthening. His presentation included lots of Q&A and discussion.

The next session was on council policy and the several segments on the future.

Under future impacts things like land availability, new tax base, changing preferences, technical problems, and adaptive challenges will have more of an influence on our future decisions.

We discussed our ever-evolving plans. Current plans under revision include our sustainability and climate plan, the open space master plan, the urban forestry master plan, and our solid waste master plan. One interesting point made in this discussion was that 10% to 15% of all Cary incorporated land is under town control. Next we discussed the Engage Plan which includes the historic preservation plan, the bike plan, and the parks, recreation, and cultural resources plan. And all plans impact the Imagine Cary 2.0 which is also being revised.

Recycling and curbside pickup was discussed next. Council had a strong desire to have curbside pickup for compost materials, so staff agreed to implement a pilot program. The council also expressed a desire to have textiles picked up curbside. Staff mentioned that running two pilots at one time would be confusing so that will be delayed for a while.

Current infrastructure priorities were presented to council to make sure priorities haven’t changed. It was pointed out that infrastructure means everything that is a service. One new service will include CASSI which is an autonomous vehicle that will operate in Bond Park.

The afternoon session on the last day was Designing a Community for the Future. First we talked about “newish” projects which included the Graffiti Bar, the WalkUp Bar, the RBF Champaign Bar, the Ivey-Ellington House move for the future Jordan mixed use, the Meridian, the future Meridian at Hunter Street, the future Rogers Parking Deck which will be next to The Rogers, the proposed NW Cary development at O’Kelly Chapel Road, and the South Hills development with the Centre. Next, we talked about visions for Kildaire Farm Road which are being planned. This is important because Kildaire Farm redevelopment should fit into an overall plan rather than being piece meal.

The last session of the retreat was Looking Ahead. In our first discussion it was pointed out that town hall’s campus has many old buildings, is not meeting the citizens’ demands, and is underutilized land. We were shown a vision of one developer that used the land for a mixed use and included a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks to Cedar Street. At the recommendation of staff, council unanimously approved a motion to issue a RFQ (Request for Quote) next month for town hall campus.

Our last discussion was about a parking deck next to the Rogers development. We were shown a concept of how the deck might look. After much discussion, Council unanimously approved a motion to appropriate money so that the developers of the Rogers could build the parking deck. The deck will be designed with aesthetics in mind.

While we covered a LOT of information in the two days of the retreat we didn’t get to everything on the agenda. We will discuss the remaining items at a work session on March 22nd.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A complaint about the safety at the intersection of Waldo Rood and Davis Drive.
  • A complaint about “kids revving cars” at a Bojangles and a Sheets near Tryon Road.
  • A complaint about Google Fiber contractors digging up yards.
  • Kudos to our Cary Police for how they handled the standoff even though it ended with a tragic death.
  • A complaint about not being able to get a conference room in Cary libraries.
  • A request to have a miniature golf course downtown.

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a CAMPO Commuter Rail Subcommittee meeting, an Economic Development Committee meeting, a presentation to the Heart of Cary Association, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, March 5th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Zoning Officials, CAMPO, and Atria Opening

Cary Safest City

Monday the Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) reported that “Cary is still the safest city in North Carolina, according to the ranking – but it’s no longer in the top 10 in the country.

The locale came in at No. 18 this year, a drop from its 7th spot the year prior.” This was according to SmartAsset. But they did admit that Cary is still the safest city in the country according to GoodHire: “Interestingly enough, Cary was named the safest place in America in September, according to an analysis by GoodHire”.

It depends on what study and what criteria is used. The media can make that confusing by just reporting some of the information. Thanks to TBJ for reporting all the information.

NC Association of Zoning Officials

Monday morning I provided welcoming remarks to zoning officials from across North Carolina attending their Mid-Winter Workshop in Cary. In addition to the welcome, I talked about how important creating effective zoning policies and practices were to municipalities. I invited them, in their off time, to visit our downtown and Fenton which were close by.

Commuter Rail

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board created a subcommittee to participate in the decision-making process related to the Greater Triangle Commuter Rail project being developed by GoTriangle and I am part of that subcommittee. Our first meeting will be on February 28th and will mostly be a foundational meeting. After that we will be discussing funding which is important because we will probably not receive federal funding as anticipated.


Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board. The agenda had three consent items, two public hearings, and four discussion items. The executive board unanimously approved the CAMPO work plan and the FY 2024 LAPP (Locally Administered Projects Program). LAPP is used by the MPO to prioritize and program local transportation projects in the region that utilize federal funding and are the responsibility of the MPO. LAPP projects are funded using the federal funding sources directly attributed to the region with a minimum 20% local match. The FY2024 LAPP program includes Cary’s proposed Higgins Phase IV greenway which will extend it from Shirley Drive to Walnut Street. Money received for this green will be $1.94 million.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

Thursday morning I was contacted by Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church who asked that I share covid vaccine information:

What: COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church

When: Noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23

Where: Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church, 200 High Meadow Drive, Cary

Contact: Hanna Hayden, hhayden@thereisgroup.com, (785) 477-4146

Atria Grand Opening

Thursday night I joined council member Jack Smith, NC Senator Gale Adcock, and NC Representative Julie von Haefen at the ribbon cutting for Atria in Cary a senior living facility with all the amenities. We were all given the opportunity to welcome the 50+ residents, about a third of their capacity, who moved in during December. I am sure Atria will be a huge success in our community.

NC Metro Mayors

Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors to hear about legislative actions. Here is a summary of that meeting from consultants KTS Strategies:

Consensus Revenue ForecastThe Legislative Fiscal Research Division and the Office of State Budget and Management issued their consensus revenue forecast. The forecast anticipates a one-time budget surplus of $3.25 billion for FY 2022-23. This brings total state General Fund revenue collections to $33.76 billion. The main drivers for the surplus as detailed in the forecast include:

  • A smaller than expected decline in individual income tax collections, especially due to larger than expected tax payments from pass-through businesses electing to be taxed at the entity level, 
  • Persistently high corporate profits, particularly among large multi-national corporations, 
  • Resilient consumer spending despite longer-lasting inflation in goods and services subject to sales tax, and 
  • Higher than expected investment returns on the General Fund balance. 

Senate President Pro-Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement on the forecast, “While this year’s surplus is welcomed news, we need to be cautious as we prepare the budget. We must continue to prioritize responsible spending, addressing our state’s workforce needs, and providing additional tax relief to our citizens.”

An updated joint revenue forecast will be issued in May following Tax Day in April.

Medicaid ExpansionThe House passed their version of Medicaid expansion this week. H76, Access to Healthcare Options, would provide Medicaid coverage to adults aged 18-64 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level beginning on January 1, 2024. The bill also directs the Secretary of Commerce to create a “seamless, statewide, comprehensive workforce development program” and for the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a method to assist Medicaid enrollees in accessing appropriate workforce development services. 

H76 passed the Finance and Rules Committees on Tuesday with little debate. The bill passed third reading on Thursday with a vote of 92-22. It remains to be seen if the Senate will file their own expansion bill or take up this plan. The House version does not include any provisions related to Certificate of Need reform which has been a sticking point for the Senate in the past.

House Permanent RulesOn Wednesday, the House adopted their permanent rules for operating the 2023 regular session.  Many of the rules are the same as previous sessions regarding order of business, conduct of debate, and decorum. There will be a new rule related to veto overrides. Previously, a veto override vote could not be taken until 48 hours after being noticed on the calendar. The new rule states a veto override vote can be taken on the same legislative day it is received from the Senate or Governor or any day it is printed on the calendar. The Senate adopted their permanent rules in January. The Senate Rules Chair must give the Senate Minority Leader at least 24 hours’ notice that a vetoed bill may be considered by the Senate.

Medical MarijuanaThe Senate Judiciary Committee heard S3, NC Compassionate Care Act, on Wednesday. This is the same legislation that moved through the Senate last year.  Sponsored by Senate Rules Chair Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) the bill would legalize medical marijuana for qualified patients with a debilitating medical condition. It would create an eleven-member advisory board to review petitions to add a new debilitating condition and create a Medical Cannabis Production Commission to oversee medical cannabis supplier licenses. The bill was up for discussion only in Wednesday’s committee meeting, but there may be amendments considered in next week’s meeting. Should the measure pass through the Senate again, it is unclear if there is enough support in the House to pass the legislation.

The meeting concluded after half an hour.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

I enjoyed spending time with several Town staff, citizens, and Chamber members during the Business After Hours at Fenton’s PBR Cowboy Bar. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, the answer is no – I didn’t ride the bull.
Outside of last night’s fun, we continue our focus on preparing for an amazing retreat and plan to have the agenda to you early next week.
Have a good weekend, and I hope to see some of you at Monday’s historic house move.

Email Changeover Postponed

Today’s email changeover from @townofcary.org to @carync.gov has been postponed due to unforeseen technical challenges. Additional communication will be released early next week. We are still on track for the URL changeover on Tuesday, February 21. 

Ivey-Ellington is Headed Home

The Ivey-Ellington House is on the move. The house was recently moved through the back of the original site and is staged on the empty lot next to Academy Street Bistro, where it will remain through the weekend. On Monday, the house will move onto Academy Street and travel south to its new location at the former library site. To accommodate the final steps of this historic relocation, South Academy Street and sidewalks will be closed beginning at 7:00 am on Monday, February 20. The street and sidewalks will be reopened following the relocation.

New Cary Businesses

What a great week for Cary citizens as we welcomed three new business to the Cary business community: Sports & Social Cary, Howdy Homemade Ice Cream, and Gigi’s Playhouse. On Thursday, the new Sports & Social/PBR Cary opened in Fenton. There is no way to describe the 42-foot LED media wall – it is impressive to say the least! This is also home of the PBR Cowboy Bar featuring a mechanical bull upstairs. On February 10, Business Services Manager Bryan Hayes attended an opening for Howdy Homemade Ice Cream at The Walker in downtown Cary, which creates jobs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. On February 12, Gigi’s Playhouse opened in The Walker right next door to Howdy Homemade Ice Cream. Gigi’s Playhouse is an achievement center for individuals with down-syndrome. We are so thankful to these businesses that choose Cary to open a business.

South Walker Street Closure

South Walker Street near East Park Street will close one lane on February 28 to remove an existing tree, weather permitting. This work is needed in advance of the new sidewalk installation expected to start in March. The sidewalk will close one of the last remaining sidewalk gaps along South Walker Street, providing a fully ADA-accessible walkway from the First United Methodist Church parking lot to the Downtown Cary Park.

Cary Higgins Phase IV Greenway

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Executive Board approved a $1.9 million grant this week to construct the Higgins Greenway Phase IV project. This phase will bring pedestrians and cyclists to downtown and supports Cary’s goals to create a walkable environment. An earlier phase Higgins Greenway Phase III, also received LAPP funding and will begin construction this year.

Wake County Small Project Funding

On Wednesday, staff presented a Cary Action Sports facility funding request to the Wake County Hospitality Tax Small Projects Review Team. If awarded, Cary’s $950,000 request would provide for an increase in upgrades to the Action Sports project included in the 2019 bond, such as, installation of a roof structure, seating, ramps, and an additional 1,500 square feet of indoor support facilities. These amenities would allow Cary Action Sports to host larger national and regional tournaments and events as well as elite camps and increased programming. Wednesday’s presentation was round two of the process and Cary’s Action Sports project is among the final six in consideration. 

RFQ Consultant Interviews: Wake BRT Western Corridor Station Area Planning

Cary and Raleigh are actively preparing for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor that will connect the two downtown areas. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded a grant to support Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planning work in the station areas along this corridor. A request for qualifications (RFQ) to select a consultant to lead this effort closed February 1. Cary hosted consultant interviews at the Urban Design Studio with City of Raleigh staff on Thursday and Friday. If you have any questions direct them to transit Director, Kelly Blazey

Valentines Day at Cary Senior Center

Marie Martin of the Garden Club has a non-profit organization called Moms Wishing Widows Well that provides Valentine’s Day flowers to over 200 widows in the area. Ms. Martin and her group of volunteers arrived early at the Cary Senior Center to assemble fresh bouquets for Valentine’s Day delivery.

Western Chatham Street Corridor Study Kicks Off

This week, the Urban Design Studio kicked off an urban design corridor study for West Chatham Street. The scope of the project extends along West Chatham Street from Academy Street to just west of the Old Apex/West Chatham Street roundabout. Topics of exploration include streetscape, traffic management, parking, stormwater, redevelopment potential, and utilities. Initial input was gathered from conversations with members of various Cary departments and a walking site tour with the consultant team. Sasaki Associates is the consultant for the project, and the corridor study is expected to take approximately six months.

Fire Graduates 25 Recruits

Fire held a graduation ceremony for the 25 recruits of Academy 26 on Feb. 10 at The Shepherd’s Church in Cary. It marked the end of an intensive eight-month academy during which the recruits earned all their required fire, rescue, hazardous materials, and rescue certifications. The 21 members of Academy 25 were also honored, as COVID-19 prevented them from having their ceremony when they completed their training in January 2022. Graduates had their badges pinned and received their shift assignments at the celebration. Both classes presented a leadership award to a deserving classmate, and family and friends enjoyed a screening of the class videos, produced by one of the Academy 26 graduates, with a reception following the event.

Evans Road / West Cary Middle School Pedestrian Crossing Enhancements

Public Works staff completed the installation of in-street warning signs at two pedestrian crosswalks on Evans Road, one near West Cary Middle School and one just north, near Evans Estates Drive. These signs are the latest in a series of enhancements to the two crossings of an NCDOT-maintained roadway in response to concerns regarding their visibility, particularly in the early morning hours. Traffic engineering staff coordinated with NCDOT personnel in a joint effort to add new pavement markings as well as additional signs and reflective devices to improve safety at the crossings. The in-street warning signs are anticipated to increase the consistency of drivers yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Upcoming Meetings

Athletic Committee
Feb. 20
6:00 p.m.

Cultural Arts Committee
Feb. 22
6:00 p.m.

Council-Staff Retreat

Feb. 24-25

Planning and Zoning Board

Feb. 27
6:30 p.m.

Senior Advisory Board
March 1
2:00 p.m.

Economic Development Committee
March 1
5:15 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A complaint about the proposed Kanoy rezoning in Chatham County
  • A request to speak out against persecution of the Ethiopian Church in Ethiopia
  • A complaint from an unincorporated area wanting Cary water

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, the moving of the Ivey-Ellington House, a meeting of the Wake County Mayors Association, the annual NC League of Municipalities Town & State Dinner, being a panelist at the Triangle Community Coalition Mayor’s Panel, a council dinner in Wilmington, and the annual council-staff working retreat in Wilmington.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 26th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

DEI Meeting, Council Meeting, Sports and Social with PBR opening, Gigi’s Opening, and Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

Interview with Duke Student

Monday afternoon I was interviewed by a Duke student who is in the master’s Program of Public Policy. He is writing a paper on Boomburbs. Boomburbs are defined as incorporated places in the top 50 Metropolitan areas in the United States of more than 100,000 residents, but that are not the core cities in their metropolitan areas and have maintained double-digit rates of population growth (10% or more) over consecutive censuses between 1970 and 2000. While we have grown at a rate of around 2.9% the last 10 years and have more people coming to Cary to work than leaving Cary to work, we do meet the criteria for a Boomburb. His questions included my motivation for being mayor, how experience on the council has changed, the role of local government, and recent initiatives. Our interview lasted about an hour.

Council Meeting Prep

Monday I attempted to contact council members about questions and concerns they may have had with the upcoming agenda. Questions included the potential for affordable housing on an annexation where the town was the applicant, questions about changes in the sign ordinance, and a question about the street improvement process. Later in the day I met with staff to go over the agenda items.

Town Manager One-On-One

My last meeting Monday was my weekly meeting with the town manager. Our topics of discussion included the upcoming council-staff retreat, the future of the 217 acres in western Cary, the future of WakeMed Soccer Park, the Centre, and candidates for this fall’s Cary Town Council.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Meeting

Tuesday I attended the monthly meeting of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. The task force heard a presentation from Doug McRainey, Director of Special Projects, about the Center which will be where South Hills is today. The task force was very concerned about how the staff was reaching out to the DEI community to get their feedback on crucial issues regarding programming, access, and other issues. Staff agreed to work with the DEI task force on getting more information and to reach out to the DEI task force before future surveys.

The task force spent the rest of the meeting discussing items on the prioritization chart. The group agreed to define the four pillars at their next meeting: Access, Public Safety, Communication, and Council-Staff requests. The meeting concluded after about an hour and forty-five minutes.

TBJ Announcement About USA Soccer Generates News in Media Outlets

Wednesday morning the Triangle Business Journal reported that Cary was a finalist for the headquarters and training center for USA Soccer. This generated media requests from all local outlets. A team from Cary, including myself, traveled to USA Soccer headquarters in Chicago last August to pitch Cary. While the meeting was successful the challenges were many for USA Soccer. My understanding is that we are in competition with Atlanta. I am very excited for the potential USA Soccer brings to this area. I am confident that if they select Cary they will be very happy with their choice. We have a LOT to offer and are one of the most desirable places to live, work, play, and run a business in the nation. We’ll see what happens next.

Sports and Social, PBR Cowboy Bar

Wednesday night I joined several hundred VIPs in the preview event for the Sports and Social bar in Fenton. This bar features a 42 foot screen that can be divided into any number of configurations, ideal for March Madness, or just one giant screen. There are several types bars with various types of drinks throughout the facility. Included are games like shuffle puck, skeeball, hoops, arcade games, and more. The food is high-end for a bar and was delicious. I predict Sports and Social will be a regional draw. It is a great place to have fun, entertain yourself, and make memories.

And if that wasn’t enough the PBR Cowboy Bar is attached to Sports and Social. BTW, PBR stands for Professional Bull Riders and is not a type of beer. According to their website the:

“PBR Cowboy Bar is a powerhouse name in entertainment and one of the fastest growing concepts in the United States. The soul of PBR Cowboy Bar comes alive through great entertainment, the best in country music and its rich traditions.

PBR Cary will be the first location to open in North Carolina and will be opening within Fenton, a mixed-use development in Cary, outside of Raleigh. We are excited to introduce the concept to the market in the Triangle for the first time, and the area’s only professional endorsed mechanical riding bull.”

I think both of these bars will be a huge hit.

Sports and Social, PBR Bar Ribbon Cutting

Thursday I joined several dignitaries and two Wake County Commissioners at the ribbon cutting for the Sports and Social and PBR Cowboy Bar. I along with about five others game remarks. The venues will take entertainment to a new level in Cary and generate several jobs for our economy.

As part of the presentation, I was presented a special belt buckle from the Professional Bull Riders

Council Meeting

Thursday the council held its first council meeting of the month. The agenda included three consent items, three public hearings, and two discussion items. The Millstone Annexation public hearing was continued until the council’s March meeting. The remaining public hearings were the annexation and rezoning of the Kanoy tract. This drew several speakers to oppose the rezoning request including many from Chatham County. The Kanoy rezoning will go to the Planning and Zoning Board for their review and recommendation.

The first discussion item was the Act 28 Land Development Ordinance Amendments for signs. After several comments and questions the council approved this unanimously.

The last discussion item was the fiscal year 2023 street improvements bid award. The majority of thoroughfares in Cary are NCDOT maintained and are usually at a lower standard than Cary streets which the town maintains. Study has shown that paving proactively rather than reactively improves not only the driving experience but saves the town money in the long run. The bid was approved unanimously by council.

Gigi’s Playhouse Grand Opening

Sunday I provided remarks at the opening of Gigi’s Playhouse at the Walker. Their mission is to change the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all. In my remarks I talked about how their values are in line with our values: joy, education, and inclusion; and at the same time, they provide self-esteem, independence, while helping develop abilities and skills. We are so blessed to have Gigi’s Playhouse in our downtown.

Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

This week there was a horrific earthquake in Turkey and Syria. At the time of this writing there were at least 28,000 killed with predictions that the eventual count will double. In addition, thousands are injured and hundreds of thousands are homeless. There are various ways to help if you feel the calling. If you are religious, I would ask that you pray for all those involved including the rescuers.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

I’m going to keep it simple this week…have a great weekend.

Cary Nonprofit Capacity Building Kickoff Event

This week Cary held its inaugural Nonprofit Capacity Building Kickoff Event. In partnership with the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, this program covers topics including board governance, strategic communications, fundraising, partnerships and collaboration, and financial management. Additionally, individuals who complete the program may apply their credit hours earned towards the Duke University Certificate in Nonprofit Management. Assistant Town Manager, Danna Widmar, and Council Members Lori Bush and Carissa Kohn-Johnson welcomed the group of nonprofit participants. Organizations represented in the nonprofit cohort include: Dorcas Ministries, The Carying Place, HOPE North Carolina, Heart of Cary Association, Bridge II Sports, Kiran, Communities in Schools, and White Oak Foundation.

CaryNC.gov is Coming

Beginning next Friday, Information Technology (IT) will begin implementing significant changes to Cary’s email addresses and select websites, changing the townofcary.org domain to the new, brand-friendly carync.gov . This new domain brings the website in line with other digital properties like Cary’s recently updated main social media handles (@caryncgov), which have been streamlined to bring a unified, instantly recognized brand voice to all Cary communications, internal and external. While this work is expected to take place over several days, IT is expecting minimal impacts to access to town services, emails, and websites. The old emails and website will also forward to the new addresses after the switch to ensure no information is lost in the process. For more information and answers to common questions about this project, visit townofcary.org/domainswitch.

Next Generation Marketing

With Kristy Buchanan now at the helm, our Marketing Team participated in a 2-day workshop facilitated by Warren Miller’s Fountainworks. Relationship-building and Marketing’s role within the organization as well as moving toward a national brand identity were among the topics. Feedback and input were provided by staff from public safety, 311, economic development, organizational development, and PRCR, with Sean participating in the event’s wrap-up.

Cary’s Pilot Food Waste Drop-off Adopted as Ongoing Service

Having surpassed its pilot goals, Cary’s food waste drop-off was deemed a success and is here to stay. Established in February 2022, the one-year pilot’s initial goal of collecting a minimum of 16 tons of food scraps resulted in an actual collection of 40 tons, exceeding the goal by 150%. Additionally, the community’s enthusiasm for the service resulted in a steady stream of collection of over 12,000 food scrap drop offs over the course of 12 months. This initiative supports Cary’s long-standing commitment to waste reduction and diversion by offering citizens an option to divert household food waste from landfills and return it to the earth as valuable compost. Good Hope Farm is a recipient of finished compost in the amount of 10% of the total weight of scraps collected and received its first delivery this year.

Dreamfest Food Drive Update

The Cary community helped to combat hunger during the month of January through the MLK Dreamfest Food Drive. Volunteer site coordinators signed up to host 19 individual food drives that collected more than 3,000 pounds of canned foods that helped feed 350 families. Held in partnership with Piedmont Conservation Council and Dorcas Ministries, this dynamic program empowered volunteers to coordinate with their own schools, churches, businesses, and neighborhoods to help build food security in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Bond Park Shuttle

This spring, Bond Park is the site of an exciting demonstration in autonomous vehicle technology. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has partnered with Cary to bring an all-electric, driverless shuttle to Bond Park. CASSI (Connected Autonomous Shuttle Supporting Innovation) will run a four-stop route from the Cary Senior Center to Bond Park Community Center weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until June 2. The pilot begins at 10 a.m. on March 6.

NC Chinese Lantern Festival Generates More Than $7 Million of Economic Impact

The numbers are in, and the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival continues to set new records. This year the event welcomed more than 216,000 visitors and generated more than $7.36 million in direct economic impact according to figures released by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh). The festival drew visitors from all 100 counties in North Carolina, plus visitors from 50 U.S. states and territories and six foreign countries.

The Soccer Tournament

Cary will host “The Soccer Tournament”which is a 7v7 world cup style, winner take all, $1,000,000 prize tournament. TST is a spinoff of the TBT (The Basketball Tournament) which has been running for many years now. TST is in its first year and will be a bit of a festival / soccer event, with multiple games on the first two days as teams play in groups to advance to the single elimination rounds. TST has secured some entries that are making headlines, Clint Dempsey (US soccer legend), a group of former US Women’s National Team players, and Wrexham AFC (known globally right now due to their owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, and the FX Docuseries – Welcome to Wrexham). The entry by Wrexham, along with the media presence of the owners has a lot of people talking about TST and Cary. TST will be rounding out the field of 32 in the coming weeks. TST will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park, June 1-4, with tickets going on sale March 1. 

Smartmicro Sensor for Traffic Management

Traffic Signal System staff is partnering with Control Technologies to evaluate an advanced out of pavement detection technology that features multi-lane and multi-object tracking at the southbound approach of Maynard Road and Cary Towne Boulevard. In addition to simple presence detection, the module can be used to realize dilemma zone protection, signal priority, signal phase extension, and other concepts to improve traffic flow and enhance road safety.
The intersection of Maynard Road and Cary Towne Boulevard was chosen for this treatment since it appears on NCDOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program. With notable levels of left-turn and rear end crashes, staff will be using this technology to improve signal timing that may reduce certain types of crashes. In addition, supplemental signal heads and back plates will be added to improve conspicuity and advanced signal timing will be employed to provide better protection for left-turn vehicles.

2023 Reclaimed Water Holiday

Next week, Cary will begin its annual maintenance shutdown of the reclaimed water system, often referred to as the “reclaimed water holiday” . The scheduled shutdown provides reclaimed water customers and staff the opportunity to perform important routine maintenance on their systems while irrigation and reclaimed water use is low. Cary’s 944 reclaimed water customers were notified of the shutdown and commercial customers can switch to potable water backup supply during the annual maintenance window. Following completion of the maintenance shutdown, the system will be restarted and back in full operation by February 28. 

Upcoming Meetings

Greenway Committee
Feb. 16 at
6:00 p.m.

Parks, Rec, & Cultural Resources
Feb. 18 at 
1:00 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A request for affordable housing at Dillard and Jones Franklin
  • A request for a speed hump on Waldo Rood Boulevard at the Upchurch Farm community (NCDOT doesn’t allow humps on these types of roads)
  • A request for information about the White Oak Greenway that “used to be a swamp”
  • Several complaints about the proposed Kanoy Property proposal

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, remarks to the NC Association of Zoning Officials, an Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships Board meeting, a meeting about commuter rail, a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board, the grand opening of Atria, and a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 19th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Short Version Taping of the State of Cary Address and Metro Mayors Meeting

Taping the Short Version of the State of Cary Address

Wednesday I spent about two hours at town hall taping a 7 to 8 minute version of the State of Cary Address. The script for this modified version, created by staff, was just over 1000 words compared to the text I created of about 5500 words. The opening and closing segments were different from the original and involved me memorizing the script, and walking while talking. Many takes were recorded to allow for experimentation with various angles to see which looked the best. The remaining segments, except one, were recorded with a teleprompter with most of those segments being used for voice overs.

Metro Mayors Meeting

Friday I participated in the first Metro Mayors meeting of the year. The purpose of these weekly meetings is to inform the metro mayors of actions occurring in the legislature. Here is a summary from KTS Strategies for this week:

The North Carolina General Assembly officially convened the 2023-2024 legislative biennium on January 25. Republicans maintain control of the legislature. The Senate holds a supermajority with 30 Republicans and 20 Democrats. The House is one shy of a supermajority with 71 Republicans and 49 Democrats. There are also many new faces at the legislature with over 30 new members. While passing a budget is always the main priority, other major issues we expect to be addressed this session include Medicaid expansion, sports wagering, medical marijuana, mental health, and infrastructure needs.

The legislature is not up and running at full speed yet. We anticipate it will be another several weeks before committees and floor work begin in earnest while legislation is filed, and committees hold introductory meetings. So far, just over 100 bills have been filed. Below are links to view legislation that has been filed and committee assignments.

Bills & Laws – North Carolina General Assembly (ncleg.gov)
Committees – North Carolina General Assembly (ncleg.gov)

The meeting concluded after about 30 minutes. These weekly meetings will continue until the end of the legislative session.

Town Manager’s Report

Russ’ Message

On Monday, we had the privilege of welcoming Council Member Ryan Eades to our weekly Directors meeting. Each Director took the opportunity to introduce themselves and share a bit about their focus areas of service. It was great to hear from Ryan and find out more about his interests and goals as a councilperson. We look forward to spending more time with Ryan at the upcoming Council/Staff Retreat.
Today has been a busy one to cap the week. I started the day at the Share & Care event at the Herb Young Community Center and was impressed with the number of resources and services our community offers our citizens. Then later in the afternoon, I had the chance to meet several seniors at the public meeting for two new community centers. I always enjoy hearing input from our citizens on important future projects.
I hope you enjoy the extra sun this weekend!

Bike Plan Focus Group Engagement

As part of the development of Cary’s upcoming Bike Plan, staff is building a citizen-based focus group to help inform the plan and ensure community engagement and advocacy. Citizens interested in participating can complete this brief survey and applicants will be considered by the staff-led steering committee. This approach will ensure geographic distribution and representation from a diverse group of respondents. The goal is to recruit 12-15 citizens to serve on the committee. Those interested are encouraged to apply by 5 p.m. on February 17.

Family Greenway Walk – January 2023

Throughout January, 168 members of Cary Teen Council participated in the family greenway walk. To celebrate Year of the Trail in 2023, members were encouraged to take an hour walk on any Cary greenway, trail, or park and submit a fun picture of completion. Over 30 different walk locations were submitted, highlighting the variety of options and miles available across Cary for all to enjoy.

SCWRF Solar Facility – Renewable Energy Credits

The last step of the South Cary Water Reclamation Facility (SCWRF) Solar Facility ownership process was recently finalized, as we have secured the facility’s Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s) through the North Carolina Utility Commission. The REC’s represent the greenhouse gas, or carbon offset, achieved through the site’s solar energy production. Securing the REC’s is key to supporting Cary’s current and long-term carbon reduction goals, as Cary can now directly claim the related greenhouse gas emissions offset. The REC’s provide an offset of approximately 1,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Twelve New Officers Take Their Oath

On Wednesday, the Police Department administered the oath of office to 12 new officers. This was the largest number of officers sworn collectively in recent years. We welcome officers Caleb Russell, Harper Spell, Nick Beltz, Thomas Scott, Damian Rodriguez, Sean Luddley, Raul Garcia, Nick James, Lex Crisostomo, Wyatt Godwin, Colin Everett, and David Dibiase to Cary.

Cary’s Budget Process Presented to UNC MPA Students

On Tuesday, Financial Strategy Analyst Alice Mahood, and former summer 2022 budget interns, Liam Brailey and Jacob Orman, spent the morning at a UNC School of Government MPA budget class discussing Cary’s budget process with current students. They played the budget game the interns developed over the summer, discussed how Cary’s rolling budget process works, and how to foster collaboration through the budget process.

Share & Care 2023

Share & Care is a one-stop opportunity for persons with disabilities, family members, care providers, and anyone interested in gathering information to come to Cary and learn about the amazing services our community offers. Share & Care was held Friday morning at the Herb Young Community Center. Close to 50 booths were set up sharing information on everything from resources for seniors, GoCary, the CERT team, to our wonderful community engagement staff.

Upcoming Meetings

Parks, Rec & Cultural Resources
February 6 at 5:15 p.m.

Information Services Advisory
February 6 at 6 p.m.

Zoning Board of Adjustment
February 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Environmental Advisory
February 7 at 6:00 p.m.

Human Rel, Inclusion & Diversity
February 7 at 6:00 p.m.

Historic Preservation Commission
February 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A complaint that the Swift Creek Elementary School rezoning process was not transparent enough.
  • A complaint about silt from a developer site near MacGregor Lake.
  • A request to pass an ordinance that prohibits discrimination (we did last summer).
  • A request to pass an ordinance that prohibits pet stores that sell dogs and cats (outside our authority).
  • A complaint about safety for a crosswalk on Morrisville Carpenter Road.
  • A complaint about a homeless camp at Tryon Road and Regency Parkway.
  • A request to correct an error on the town’s website.

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, an interview with a student from Duke’s Public Policy Masters program, a meeting of the Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force, the Sports and Social Fenton opening and ribbon cutting, the first regularly scheduled council meeting of February, and the opening of Gigi’s Playhouse.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 12th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

State of Cary Address, The Centre Public Meeting, Council Meeting, and Ryan Eades Takes Oath

Council Meeting Prep

Monday I contacted council members, including council member elect Ryan Eades, to hear of questions or concerns they may have had about the upcoming council agenda for the last regularly scheduled meeting of January. There were very few concerns. Later in the day I met with key staff members to go over the agenda items. We anticipated the council meeting would be relatively short.

Town Manager One-On-One

After the agenda meeting, I met with the town manager for my weekly one-on-one. Most of our discussion was on inclusionary zoning. Some municipalities in North Carolina, like Chapel Hill, have created inclusionary zoning ordinances which would require developers to include affordable units in their plans. The problem with this is that our authority comes from the legislature, and they haven’t given authority for inclusionary zoning. As a result, some municipalities’ ordinances are being challenged in court. Years ago, Cary had ordinances without legislative authority. Those ordinances required schools or roads to be built before or with development, called Adequate Public Facilities ordinances. Those types of ordinances were challenged and are now not allowed. I would not be surprised if the inclusionary ordinances were struck down by the courts. Unfortunately, losing a court battle like that will cost the municipalities, and taxpayers, a LOT of money.

State of Cary Address

Wednesday I presented the State of Cary Address at the Cary Eye Opener Breakfast to an audience of 365 at Prestonwood County Club. According to Cary Chamber records, this was the largest crowd ever for this event. My presentation was taken from the 5500-word text version of the State of Cary address I wrote over the last month and half. I spoke from 49 slides which took me around 35 to 40 minutes. To see the text and the slides go here. According to the feedback I received, the address seemed well received.

Public Meeting on The Centre

Wednesday night I attended a public meeting on the Centre which is planned to be built on the South Hills mall site. The purpose of the meeting was to get public input on what they would like to see at the Centre. The overall process is in the concept phase where public input is collected. This will be followed by design and then two years of construction. If the project is funded and remains on schedule it is planned to be open at the end of 2027. I anticipate a bond referendum on the Centre and other projects in 2024.

Ryan Eades Reception

Before the regularly scheduled council meeting on Thursday a reception was held for Ryan Eades who was sworn in later as a Cary Council member representing District D. Friends, family, staff, and elected officials gathered to congratulate Ryan and meet his family.

Council Meeting

Thursday night was the last council meeting of January. It began with the oath of office for Ryan Eades followed by eight consent items, five public hearings, and one discussion item.

The consent items included a rezoning and annexation for the rebuilding of Swift Creek Elementary School, a renaming Gracebay Place to Crayton Oak Drive for public safety reasons, a Cary-NCDOT street exchange for maintenance, a call for a public hearing for the Lewter Shop Road annexation, funding to convert field 4 at USA Baseball to artificial turf, and changing the council meeting schedule to add the council-staff retreat on February 24th and 25th.

Public hearings included the approval of an annexation for a hotel on North Harrison associated with rezoning case 16-REZ-15, approved in 2016, and Development Plan 20-DP-6905. There were also two public hearings on land development ordinance amendments, a rezoning public hearing for West Park Street, and a rezoning public hearing for Green Level West Road. These will come back for a vote after being reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Board.

The only discussion item was whether or not to use Construction Manager at Risk (“CMAR”) delivery method for the Centre project. In the discussion it was pointed out that this method was used for the downtown park and other large projects. After questions and comments the council unanimously approved the recommendation.

Council Candidate Meeting

Friday I met with a candidate who is planning to run for Cary Town Council in the fall. It is my practice to endorse incumbents but I am willing to meet with and provide advice to all candidates who wish.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

I was once again blown away by the Mayor’s State of Cary Address at the Chamber Eye Opener on Wednesday. He does an incredible job of summarizing the past year and highlighting what’s to come for Cary in the new year. You know it is an impactful presentation when you leave the room feeling uplifted and reenergized.
On Thursday, Council held a reception honoring incoming Council Member, Ryan Eades. During the meeting, Ryan was sworn in as Council D Representative by NC Senator Gale Adcock, with his family at his side. Staff and I look forward to getting to know Ryan more as we embark on this new relationship.
Have a good weekend.

Downtown Park Neighborhood Meeting

On Wednesday, the Downtown Cary Park hosted its third Neighbor Meeting at the Cary Arts Center. Mayor Pro Tem Don Frantz and Council Members Lori Bush, Carissa Kohn-Johnson, and Ryan Eades joined 67 neighbors and downtown business representatives at the meeting which resulted in an engaging conversation between staff and attendees. The Downtown Cary Park General Manager, Joy Ennis, introduced the other members of the Downtown Cary Park team, followed up on outstanding items from the last meeting, provided an update on construction, and gathered feedback on programming ideas and items the neighbors would like to see at the market.

Green Bike Lane Striping

Dedicated bicycle lanes are being added to Laura Duncan Rd. in an effort to not only improve mobility for cyclists, but also to calm traffic speeds through this area by narrowing the travel lanes. As an added visual enhancement, green markings, similar to those seen at Fenton, have been included to highlight potential conflict zones (intersections) where cyclists and drivers should have a heightened awareness. Inspections and Permits staff are on-hand to coordinate with the project contractor, ensuring the markings are completed as planned. Once completed, Police and Transportation staff will monitor the corridor and collect data to help quantify the impact of the new bike lanes.

Touring New Hanover County’s In-Vessel Composting Operations

Staff toured the New Hanover County landfill to get first-hand experience of a North Carolina government-run composting operation that has been operational since 2017. Being on-site enabled staff to have a rich conversation with county peers who generously offered details about challenges and success with their in-vessel compost system over the past five years. Of particular interest were the site size and design, operational and maintenance recommendations, and organic materials used to create compost for their county residents. It was exciting to see this style of composting and imagine the possibilities of how it may support Cary’s future solid waste management. 

Community Center Public Meeting

A public meeting for a proposed new community facility to be located at the South Hills Mall site was held this week. Attendees were provided an overview of current trends with community center design and then given an opportunity to share their preferences. The public engagement for this project is in conjunction with the online survey which to date has been completed by more than 3,000 citizens and will remain open until February 28. An additional public meeting has been scheduled at the Cary Senior Center on February 3 from 1-3 p.m. that will cover this community center and the other one in the Mills Park area.

Prepping for Cary’s NPDES Stormwater Permit Audit

The State audits stormwater program documentation and selected facilities every five years to ensure they comply with EPA requirements to maintain the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Cary’s NPDES Phase II permit cycle is concluding, and in preparation for permit renewal, Stormwater staff has been preparing for the extensive audit for the past year, and staff at each facility have been conducting internal audits in preparation.

Black Creek Sewer Rehab Update

The Black Creek Greenway between Dynasty Drive and North Cary Park is open to the public, following completion of sewer rehabilitation in December 2022. The second phase of sewer rehabilitation along the Black Creek Greenway is now underway, and the Black Creek trail is closed between North Cary Park and the Crabtree Creek Greenway. A detour is in place to route greenway traffic around the work area. This is shown on our webpage at https://carygreenwaydetour.com/.

At the same time, work is beginning on the final leg of the project between the Crabtree Creek Greenway and the trailhead at Old Reedy Creek Road. Citizens may observe that special construction mats are being placed outside of the greenway to facilitate construction access near the trailhead, which will be followed by installation of temporary above-ground piping, sewer cleaning and rehabilitation of sewer lines and manholes.  No closures are anticipated along the greenway for the final segment of the project.

Upcoming Meetings

Senior Advisory Board
February 1 at 2:00 p.m.

Community Center Public Meeting
February 3 at 1:00 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A complaint about safety near Morrisville Carpenter Parkway and Davis Drive.
  • A request to create new ordinances for stray cats.
  • An email praising our fire department.
  • A concern about sidewalks safety in Carpenter Village.
  • A congratulations to staff for a successful Dreamfest 2023.

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, and a taping of the short version of State of Cary address.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, February 5th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.

Wake County Mayors, DEI Task Force, CAMPO, and Affordable Housing Talk

Wake County Mayors Association

Monday night I met with the mayors of Wake County in Cary. Attending were mayors from Cary, Fuquay Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville, Wake Forest, and Wendell. Our special guests were Congresswoman Deborah Ross, and Congressman Wiley Nickel. The congressional members talked about the new congress and how they saw things proceeding. They vowed to continue to work with each of the municipalities. Once our congressional leaders left the mayors talked briefly about ongoing projects in their towns. Like Cary, each of them is likely to see a transformation in the next few years.

Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force

Tuesday I attended a meeting of the Human Relations, Inclusion, and Diversity Task Force. In their previous meetings they held brainstorming sessions to come up with ideas of where to begin focus. At this meeting they attempted to narrow the focus more. Based on the almost two-hour discussion, one of the big efforts will be communication with citizens on a variety of issues. This task force meeting was one of the most intelligent, articulate, and polite meetings I have ever witnessed. I am confident that their recommendations will lead to meaningful changes.

CAMPO Executive Board

Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board. The agenda included four consent items and four discussion items. The consent items were approved unanimously and included minutes, the Wake Bus Plan Project Prioritization Policy, Safety Performance Measures and Targets for 2023, and the endorsement of the Paved Trails and Sidewalk Feasibility Grant application.

The first discussion item was the election of officers. Mayor Vivian Jones of Wake Forest was elected as the Chair and Butch Lawter of the Johnston County Commissioners was elected Vice Chair. Having served as Chair and Vice Chair from 2016 through 2019, I am confident that both will do an excellent job.

The next discussion item was an update on commuter rail in the region. A two-year feasibility study found that Wake, Durham, Orange, and Johnston counties collectively add more than 32,000 residents a year, resulting in crowded roads and ever-lengthening commute times. The region’s population is expected to grow by over 1,000,000 people by 2050. The region is projected to add over 800,000 jobs by 2050, and over 350,000 of these jobs are projected to be near the proposed commuter rail corridor. As the foundation of a robust regional transit network, a commuter rail line would allow the Triangle to manage and sustain projected growth.

The third discussion item was the work plan for CAMPO for the next fiscal year.

The last discussion item was a report on the Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP) Investment Program. This included a list of projects in the MPO for funding in the fiscal year. Cary will receive $1,935,895 for phase IV of Higgins Greenway.

The meeting concluded after about an hour.

State of Cary Address Work

Thursday and Friday were spent working on the State of Cary address. The final draft resulted in about 5500 words which will be represented on 37 PowerPoint slides. I will be presenting this address for the first time on Wednesday, January 24th, 8 AM at the Cary Chamber’s Eye Opener Breakfast which will be held in the Prestonwood County Club’s ballroom.

Affordable Housing Luncheon

Sunday I participated in a discussion on affordable housing at Cary Presbyterian. The meeting started with a showing of  Segregated by Design which is an animated documentary on the history of how federal, state, and local governments unconstitutionally segregated major metropolitan areas in the United States through law and policy. The 18-minute film is based on the book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein who also narrates. This was followed by Devin Ross from One Wake who encouraged the attendees to organize against local and other officials to make change.

I talked about our DEI department’s and the DEI task force’s efforts to combat racism in Cary. Then I talked about Cary’s Housing Plan, how we are addressing affordability, and the challenges that face us. I encouraged all in attendance to partner with the town for solutions.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

I’m looking forward to seeing you next week at two very special occasions.
First, is Wednesday morning when we’ll all gather to hear from and support the Mayor in his annual State of Cary Address at the Chamber Eye Opener. For those who haven’t spent time “on the inside” of this event, Mayor Weinbrecht himself writes the State of Cary; staff’s role is simply to help by confirming facts and figures and doing light editing for flow and grammar. So, what we hear and see during the Address is truly top of mind for him.
Then, history will be made at Thursday’s regular Council meeting when Ryan Eades will take the oath of office and officially begin his service to our community as the newest member of Council. The staff and I have been enjoying getting to know Ryan over these past few weeks, and we’re excited to see what he’ll bring to Cary’s success.
Have a safe and relaxing weekend.


Cary Celebrates MLK Jr. with Dreamfest!

Cary celebrated the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Jr. holiday with a weekend filled with programs to honor his legacy, focus on the issue of civil rights, and provide opportunities for community service. The celebration included an Interfaith Prayer Service, film screenings at The Cary Theater, one of which provided an opportunity to dialogue with the film director, and the main Dreamfest program at the Cary Arts Center. The Dreamfest event was attended by NC Senator Cheri Beasley, Council Member Carissa Kohn-Johnson, with a keynote address presented by Dr. Harry L. White Jr., Pastor of Watts Chapel Baptist Church. Soul stirring performances were presented by Pure Life Theater Company, The North Carolina Central Repertory Dance Co. and a winter clothing and backpack drive, sponsored by The Sigma Rho Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. for Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School students.
Additionally, more than 200 volunteers gathered at Good Hope Farm on Monday for an annual day of service. Volunteers spread over 100 yards of leaf mulch from Cary’s curbside collection service. In the spirit of building food security, the event also acted as a host site for the Dreamfest Food Drive, inspiring volunteers to donate approximately 500 pounds of canned food to Dorcas Ministries.

2023 North Carolina Transportation Summit

The North Carolina Department of Transportation hosted the 2023 North Carolina Transportation Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center. Transportation staff attended the event to listen to industry leaders on the future of mobility in North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper and Sec. of Transportation Eric Boyette opened the event by sharing updates on significant economic development projects coming to North Carolina and the transportation investments being made to accommodate the thousands of jobs being created.

Trash Pack Partnership

Members of the North Carolina State University research team led by Professor Pal met with staff and presented an update on the research project to improve identification and characterization of waste stream organics. Our partnership to provide waste supports their work to train an AI-driven system that could ultimately be used to inform decisions on selecting material that can be used in waste-to-energy conversion and other waste–to–use opportunities. The fascinating presentation provided a glimpse of future possibilities for waste management and sparked thoughts about how Cary can move toward it.

Chatham Street Development Updates

First, on W Chatham Street, development plans were approved this week for the redevelopment of the former Northwoods Building site and surrounding property owned by Northwoods Jordan Building, LLC, First Baptist Church, and the Town of Cary. Existing structures will be removed at 116 W Park St., 120 W Park St., and 119 S Harrison Ave. The project includes the exchange and recombination of property between Northwoods Jordan Building, LLC, First Baptist Church, and the Town of Cary. Closing on the properties is planned for February 2. Construction is expected to begin this spring following the move of the Ivey-Ellington House on February 20.
Next, on E Chatham Street, phase 1 of Meridian East Chatham is expected to begin at the end of this month. Phase 1 will include installation of stormwater infrastructure along E Chatham Street between Templeton Street and E Circle Drive. During this phase, two-way traffic is expected to be maintained along E Chatham Street for most of the project duration. Intermittent flagging operations may be needed to support construction activities as well as detours. Future phases include waterline replacement along E Chatham Street, sewer improvements, and service connections. Updates will be provided as the schedule and scope are better defined.

Upcoming Meetings

Cultural Arts Committee
January 25
 6:00 p.m.

Public Meeting: The Centre
January 25
6:00 p.m.

Reception for Ryan Eades
January 26
5:30 p.m.

Council Meeting
January 26
6:30 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A request to spend more money on Pickleball.
  • A request for a traffic signal at Laura Duncan and Cary Parkway (NCDOT makes decisions on signals. They may not allow this because of the proximity to the signal at Old Apex and Cary Parkway)
  • A complaint about needed sidewalk repairs in Carpenter Village
  • A complaint about the carpool situation at Panther Creek High School

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, the State of Cary address, the Downtown Park Neighborhood meeting, The Centre Public Meeting, and the last regularly scheduled council meeting of January.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, January 29th, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org and email personal comments to augustanat@mindspring.com.